Early days at Londolozi Game Reserve
"Aesthetically, my sculptures are imbued with images of totemic Animalia, momentary reverie, industrial conflict, mythology, and movement towards a more complex, but optimistic future."
Simon Max Bannister is a full-time sculptor with over a decade of blood, sweat and tears poured into his life's crucible of creation. Originally from South Africa, he is now based in Lyttelton, New Zealand. He works with wood and metal to convey environmental and mythological themes. With his partner Chelsea, he enjoys the majestic mountains and lakes of the south island by trail-running and paragliding.
He has been involved with creative aspects of conservation for many years, and as an ambassador artist for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation since 2013. His journey with visual art originated from land art experiences with Ahmad Nadalian. His original profession with graphic design and subsequent photography gradually shifted into sculpting full time. Simon then worked as an artist in residence at Londolozi Game reserve, inspired by the haven for wildlife and made ever aware of the need for biodiversity. He then left the Lowveld to explore deeper into the texturally diverse South African backwaters, creating ephemeral works, exploring materials, and developing new approaches as he went. Themes of environmental degradation and habitat loss became apparent. As well as a fascination with fire as a metaphor for man's desire for technology. These themes culminated in 3 years at the original bronze age studio in Cape Town, working alongside Nic Bladen and Dylan Lewis.
At this time a very clear change in material and approach occurred. He learned a bronze casting technique that encapsulated his creative theme of habitat and species loss into a distinctive language. By frequenting sawmills he collected splinters and shards of invasive timber. With these, he then constructed indigenous birds, nests, and wings. These wooden creations serve as the kindling for a unique lost cast technique, where the incineration of shape becomes the mould for the final sculpture. These hollow spaces are then cast with bronze, thereby immortalising the species that are so significant to him. The results are naturalistic, yet lean toward abstraction as the figure hovers between dissolution and form. To create larger-scale works, he utilises what are primarily labelled industrial materials, welding them into wilder themes around Greek mythology and so-called natural processes. Beams of steel become branches, bones, and feathers. Hard lines find gentle movement, rust and plants intertwine and re-establish their co-existence. Old stories find their place in a new world.
Currently, his studio is based in Lyttelton, 15 Oxford street. A vibrant and eclectic port town, with all the energy of New Zealand's beauty and friendly resilient folk.
15 Oxford Street, Lyttelton
+64 22 531 9457
“Since I met Emily Lamb and became aware of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, I have found a way to give directly back to the very animals that inspire me. The projects that the DSWF engages with represent multiple biomes and the iconic species that call them home. Through the foundation, my work can now embody a story of survival in the face of man’s ills. These endangered creatures are in our hands, in our art, in our historical being. How could we, in our time, not do whatever we can to help them?"
LHW 650mm 350mm 120mm
AUCTIONED FOR £5300
"To know that deeply, I can portray the beauty and inherent wisdom of wild animals through sculpture, which can, in turn, give them a means of protection, gives my work real meaning. These endangered creatures are in our hands, in our art, in our historical being. How could we, in our time, not do whatever we can to help them?"