Jan Sweeney

"I want my sculptures to catch the essence of the animals that I sculpt in the wild. The movement, the energy, the untamed strengthened power, always ready to explode into flight; this excites me."

“Dyslexia ruled my youth! After I was kicked out of school at 14, as being unteachable,  I rode horses and learned to repair antique English pottery and porcelain yet an allergy to solvents stopped that. So I went to Zimbabwe to teach myself to sculpt in 1989. Zim changed my life, I canoed down the Zambezi and slept on the river bank. I camped in the bush, lion huffed thru the night, elephant roamed, and cheetah ran! I was hooked, I wanted to sculpt all this energy. I started to use wax and made 3 cheetahs, I took them to a gallery in Joburg who said I should cast them in bronze so that was that.

I used two foundries in Joburg, staying there and working in the foundry on my work and others. I learned so much I set up my own foundry on a friend's farm, and with the help of one worker, Killion, we cast for more than ten years. Unfortunately, hyperinflation put a stop to that I cast in Wales or Birmingham now but still spend 4 months a year in my other home."

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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