Porky Hefer’s Shell is a unique human-sized shell made from speckled Nguni cowhide leather and sheepskin over an internal steel armature. The cowhide mimics the patterning on cowrie shells. Just as shells were historically used as currency in Africa, so have cows come to represent wealth in the traditional Nguni culture of Southern Africa. Shell was made for Hefer’s 2017 solo show at R & Company.
“Each piece is meant to be inhabited like a hermit inhabits shells,” Hefer explains while encouraging visitors to curl their bodies into the womb-like cavity of the seating pods and reconnect with their senses, instincts, and childlike responses to the world.
Hefer is a South African designer, activist, and agitator dedicated to using and preserving age-old craft techniques for contemporary applications. He regularly collaborates with leather workers, weavers, and artisans in Cape Town, where he lives. His work was included in the landmark Making Africa exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum and can be found in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. He is a two-time winner of the Design Foundation Icon Award (2013, 2018) and received a Wallpaper Design Award in 2019 for his architectural design of The Nest @ Sossus in Namibia./p>
Speckled Nguni cowhide leather, sheepskin, steel
230 x 130 x 122 cm