The English-born, multitalented sculptor Ian Cattanach (1969 –) has traveled extensively and now settled in Cape Town to focus on his sculpture work. Located within the South African art world, his work reflects his immense understanding of form and mass while showing his passion of South African wildlife. Cattanach’s meticulous working and ambitious use of metal that extends ideas on what can be physically achieved. Having trained in both design and Fine Art, Cattanach’s understanding of aesthetic is evident in the work that he produces, using sculpture as a primary medium for capturing the essence of his skills. With works commissioned and featured from Spain to Dubai, Cattanach has brought an interesting perspective and understanding to the local art scene and his new home of Cape Town, where he continues to produce sculptures.
Ian Cattanah grew up in England and studied at Norfolk College of Arts and Technology from 1986 to 1988, focusing on both Fine Art and Design skills. He was awarded the highest award for sculpture and ceramics, while also achieving distinctions in his design work. He worked a lot on sculptures geared at public art spaces, while at Norkfolk College of Arts and Technology. In the early 1990s, Cattanach moved to Granada, in Spain where he studied painting and photography, before moving to Alhambra to focus on art history and architecture. After working in a design agency for a while, his travels took him to Scotland, where he studied further and looked at film and video production. Cattanach continued to work and travel, completing commissions and working on documentaries from Seville to Dubai and Albania. In 2007, Ian Cattanach decided to move to Cape Town to focus on his sculpture.
South African Black Eagle
The recent work of Ian Cattanach is epitomized by his South African Black Eagle, a majestic description of power and strength both of the eagle’s physique and of Cattanach’s skill with bronze work. The eagle’s wings are expansive in their form, which speaks of freedom and control, yet the bird’s feet are shown to be still resting on the granite rock face of the piece’s base. Thus the work seems to be ready to lift of into flight, with its lifelike construction and gestural form. The South African Black Eagle is also known as Verreaux’s Eagle and can most commonly be found around southern Africa, particularly as an endangered population of the mountain ridges of Johannesburg. The birds form lifelong bonds with their mates and build their nests into the rock faces of cliffs. The smooth working of bronze with which Cattanach has created his eagle illustrates the elegance and immensity of the bird’s body. With the growth of cities and industrial areas, the Black Eagle’s natural habitat is under threa. Ian Cattanach’s work reminds the viewer of the beauty of wild birds, who may swoop off into the distance if they are not rightly cared for.