American sculptor and animal lover Liza Todd-Tivey is visiting Camp Jabulani and the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) – for the second time.
Recognised internationally in particular as a foremost equestrian sculptor, she is also valued as a sculptor of elephants, or rather one specific little elephant, by Lente Roode, founder of HESC and Camp Jabulani.
During her previous visit to Camp Jabulani, Liza was introduced to Shawu, the little orphaned elephant that was brought to HESC in November 2016. She spent many hours sketching the baby elephant and after her return to her New York home made a sculpture of Shawu holding a mobile phone in his trunk.
Liza titled the sculpture Call for help and donated it to the US Friends of HESC to be auctioned at their annual fundraising dinner in New York in September 2017. The work of art raised a whopping $14 000.
Liza explained the rationale for the pose that she chose for Shawu: “When I visited Camp Jabulani previously, the elephant groom told a fascinating story that I just couldn’t forget. When Camp Jabulani still offered elephant-back safaris (these have since been stopped) a guest on the elephant Jabulani, namesake of Camp Jabulani, dropped his mobile. Jabulani picked up the mobile with his trunk and repeatedly tried to hand it to the groom, but without success as the groom shooed him away thinking he was begging for pellets.
“Jabulani then put the mobile in his cheek-pouch and continued walking. At the end of the safari when the guest discovered his loss and bemoaned his lot to the groom, Jabulani took the mobile out of his mouth and handed it back to its rightful owner.”
Liza is small of stature, but big in terms of energy and passion as is reflected in the host of highly-acclaimed sculptures that she has produced. Liza hopes that this visit to Camp Jabulani will be the inspiration for more sculptures depicting African wildlife. Another sculpture made after her previous visit depicts an adult elephant in water and is entitled Head above water.
Liza’s work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the USA and Europe and many of her pieces are in reputable private art collections.
Liza was born in America as the daughter of actress Elizabeth Taylor and film producer Michael Todd. She was schooled in Switzerland and England and studied art at the Hornsey College of Art in London and the Otis Institute in Los Angeles. Upon completing her studies in 1979, she embarked on a professional career as a sculptor.