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Largest underwater sculpture created in Knysna

KNYSNA NEWS – It took professional divers, a team of SANParks rangers and willing volunteers to lift the world’s largest underwater sculpture out of the swimming pool of the Turbine Hotel on Thesen Island on Monday, October 13, as a prelude to the declaration of Knysna as an international Hope Spot.

The entire sculpture of the iconic Knysna seahorse was modelled underwater by acclaimed artist and sculptor Charles Frank and his assistant Themba Charlie.

Verification and validation was confirmed by Vernon Gibbs-Halls (Eden District Municipality) who measured the sculpture of 1,21m x 1,63m with a weight of 312kg. Official authentication will be carried out by an independent auditing firm.

The sculpture still requires modelling and casting in a factory, which is due to take place in November and then the end result will be a transparent glass-like seahorse with flowing multicolour rainbow colours inside.

The Knysna seahorse, named Anoeschka, will be unveiled on Thursday, October 16 at 18:00 at the Turbine Hotel where there will be an open exhibition featuring ten paintings and ten sculptures by Frank.

“I hope this will be the first of many water-based events,” said the artist. “I want people who care about the environment to come and celebrate Knysna’s unique and splendid ecology!”

As a passionate environmentalist, Frank was commissioned by the Eden District Municipality to undertake this massive project as part of an effort to create awareness of conservation issues. Frank is always looking for ways to draw the public’s attention to ecological issues and has recently also successfully broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest underwater painting, called WaterBirth.

Frank works in steel, oil paints or ink, but his true and natural passion comes to the fore in clay. He has also been commissioned by the South African Navy to create a memorial for the South African sailing Legend Bertie Reed, which was unveiled opposite the Nelson Mandela Gateway entrance to Robben Island. The artist was also privately commissioned to create one of the largest sculptures on the continent of Africa – that of a massive angel giving a blessing, next to the N1 highway in near Worcester.

The Knysna Hope Spot is a collaborative initiative between Eden District Municipality, SANParks, The Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs, Knysna Municipality, The Garden Route Initiative, The Knysna Basin Project, Thesen Home Owners Association, Biowise, CapeNature, Naturally Knysna and Blue Pebble. Vernon Gibbs-Halls has extended a heartfelt thank you to a multitude of sponsors who will each receive a Guinness Book World Record Certificate after the authentication process. Sponsors of R10 000 or more will also receive a replica of the record breaking seahorse sculpture.

There is no cover charge for the exhibition. Everybody is welcome. For more information contact Charles Frank on 081 270 0626.

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