Porky Hefer Unveils a New Series of Seating Pods

One of South Africa’s leading functional and evocative artists is back with a new exhibition at Southern Guild.

By Debbie Hathway

Award-winning artist Porky Hefer’s solo exhibition, ‘Volume 4. Chaos Calamus – Interspecies Reciprocal Altruism’, opens at Southern Guild in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on 8 February 2023.

The ‘Chaos Calamus’ part of the exhibition’s title refers to the Chaos genus of amoeboid organisms known for their ability to morph into different shapes by extending and retracting pseudopods (arm-like projections). This exhibition of seating pods, woven from Kooboo cane, reveals a new species Hefer has created for the work, incorporating a fictional link to the Calamus genus of rattan palm.

Drawing inspiration from nature, the artist’s earlier nests inspired by the efforts of the weaver bird are now extended and draped, mimicking fluid, oozing forms with interiors that can accommodate at least two sitters. They are supported by large tree-fork sculptures by artist Adam Birch, combining forms, crafts and makers to create the symbiosis the title alludes to and artworks that blend design and function.

Hefer’s long-time collaborators, cane weavers from the Cape Town Society for the Blind and welder Wellington Moyo, who crafted each metal frame, also contributed to the work.

True to form, Hefer embraces readily available African skills and processes, favouring traditional techniques and handcrafts to ensure the preservation and relevance of age-old skills.

Hefer has won two Wallpaper* Design Awards (2019 and 2022) for his unique designs. His first solo show, Monstera Deliciosa, Volume I (2015), was followed by a solo representation of South Africa with Southern Guild at the London Design Biennale (2016) and a solo at R & Company in New York (2017). Co-presented by Southern Guild and SFA Advisory, his Endangered collection was exhibited at Design Miami/ Basel (2018), with proceeds benefiting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

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