Brandywine Studio Inc. - Wildlife in Bronze

Expeditions and Field Study Modeling in Clay Lost Wax Process-Mold Making Lost Wax Process-Casting Finishing Provenance
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African - Jungle Gym Amphibians Animals Birds Fish Marine Mammals Miscellaneous What's New In the Works Outdoor Installations Cousteau Series Porcelain Gamefish The First Ten
Expeditions and Field Study

For Obara, field study is where it all begins — ideas for bronze sculptures germinating from his encounters with wild animals in their natural habitat. From mountain tops, to savannas, from jungle depths to ocean floors, the world is Obara’s palette.

It might be a splash, a wing stroke, a gesture or stance that triggers the sculptor’s creative process.  Obara travels extensively, hoping to experience that one instant of connection between artist and animal that will fire his desire to capture in bronze a millisecond of time.

In the field Obara uses both camera and clay to record wildlife at rest or in action. In Tanzania, he observed lions relaxing in grasslands in their regal fashion. Rather than depict the lion hunting or devouring prey, or dozing in the afternoon sun, Obara choose to sculpt the lion in the act of roaring. For Obara, it is the lion’s deep reverberating roar that defines its very essence. Setting his subject in a bit of native flora or landscape expresses the idea of a wild animal in its natural habitat.

A story teller in bronze, Obara translates dramatic encounters with wild animals into art. “I want to show the soul of each exquisite creature. I have to see it, touch it, smell it. My art is visceral, raw like nature.” Grizzly Bear and Grizzly Bear and Elk were inspired during an elk hunt in Wyoming’s Thoroughfare. At dusk, a guide, who needed meat for his larder, shot an elk. As he field dressed the animal, darkness descended and forced him to abandon it overnight. At daybreak, when the group returned to pack the elk out for the next leg of their journey, they were met by a 9-foot grizzly bear standing, growling and claiming the kill for his own. It was definitely not the time for taking photos or making clay maquettes. But the vision of the majestic grizzly was etched in Obara’s memory. Someone fired shots in the air and scared off the bear long enough for the hunting party to pack the elk and make their retreat.

Wildlife conservation is an essential part of Obara’s vision, and he supports many organizations working to protect wild animals. In 1987 he sculpted Mountain Gorilla Bust for the African Wildlife Foundation. Presented to Rwanda’s President Habyarimana, this bronze had far-reaching effects and was instrumental in helping AWF obtain anti-poaching laws as well as scouts to protect the mountain gorillas.

Of his life-long dedication to capturing wildlife in bronze, Obara says, “I’m just passing through, leaving markers of bronze that say I was here, I existed, this creature existed.”

Biltong drying in Muhuba Camp, Serengeti plain, Tanzania

Steelhead on fly, catch and release on the Babine River, British Columbia, Canada

Masai warrior, Serengeti plain, Tanzania

Skinning shed in Ugalla Camp, Tanzania

Burchell's zebra in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Fisherman, Muhuba Camp, Tanzania

Poacher's snares, Ugalla Camp, Tanzania

Skinning shed in Ugalla Camp, Tanzania

Wildebeest in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Cape buffalo, Ugalla Camp, Tanzania

Mountain gorilla, Rwanda

Peter Pulitzer and Zulu chief

Dugga Boy (Cape buffalo), Serengeti plain, Tanzania

Hawksbill turtle, Bahamas

Once Obara has a work in mind, he continues by modeling in clay, using the clay maquette or pictures as a reminder of how the subject appeared in a natural setting.

Studying a python Serengeti plain, Tanzania

Consulting map, Kigozi Camp, Tanzania

Fisherman's dugout canoe, Muhuba Camp, Tanzania

Catch and release Pacific sailfish on fly rod, Costa Rica

Atlantic salmon release on the Grand Cascapedia River, Quebec, Canada

Fisherman and dugout canoe, Tanzania

Scuba diving in the Bahamas

Lion in Tanzania

Mountain gorilla, Rwanda

Bull elephant in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Hippo in Chobe River, Kalahari Desert, Botswana

Masai boys before the Emuratta (manhood) ceremony, Tanzania

Native hut in Tanzania

Fisherman's bark canoe, Botswana

Baby warthog, Serengeti plain, Tanzania

Catch and release tarpon on fly rod, Florida

Charging bull elephant, Serengeti plain, Tanzania