In 2009 David was commissioned to mold and cast each of the 31 ribs of an 85 foot Blue Whale – the largest ribs are approximately 10 feet high and curve to around 13 feet long. The Blue Whale had originally beached on P.E.I just over twenty years ago. Though intact, David molded and cast the ribs to produce a much lighter replica of the ribs so that they could be displayed with no external armature visible. The project took approximately 8 months to complete. David was also commissioned to re-sculpt the replica of the Blue Whale skull as well as other bones. The images show various stages of the project.
The complete skeleton is now on public display at the Beaty Bio-Diversity Museum on the campus of the University of British Columbia.
The Sculpture Studio is now open to receiving new large and small scale commissions for either private or public spaces.
Blue whales are the largest animals ever to have lived on earth. They rarely strand on beaches, and very few skeletons have been recovered for research or display. Worldwide, only 21 are available to the public for viewing. The Beaty Biodiversity Museum is home to Canada’s largest blue whale skeleton, a magnificent specimen that illustrates the interconnectedness of all living things.
On the remote northwestern coast of PEI in 1987, a 26 m long mature female blue whale died and washed ashore near the town of Tignish.
In hopes of preserving the whale’s skeleton for research or museum display, the PEI government and the Canadian Museum of Nature arranged for the skeleton to be dragged off the beach near Nail Pond, and buried.
In mid-December,2007, the Museum sent a team of four to PEI to investigate the condition of the blue whale skeleton buried at Nail Pond, and determine if recovery was possible. They planned to find the whale carcass, excavate the burial site, and remove a few bones, to check their condition.
In May 2008, an expanded team of UBC researchers and affiliates headed to PEI to retrieve the entire blue whale skeleton. First, a trench alongside the whale was dug with an excavator. Using shovels, pickaxes, and other tools, the team exposed the carcass and peeled away the remaining skin, flesh, and blubber. The bones were removed, cleaned, labeled, and packed in a refrigerated container from CN rail.
Mike deRoos, the Blue Whale Project’s Master Articulator, and his team removed the whale bones from the cargo container that brought them across the country to Point Hope Shipyard in Victoria, BC.
In 2009 David Hunwick (aka The Sculpture Studio) was commissioned to mold and cast each of the 31 ribs, the largest ribs are approximately 10 feet high and curve to around 13 feet long. Though intact it was necessary to mold and cast the ribs to produce a much lighter replica of the ribs so that they could be displayed with no external armature visible. The project took approximately 8 months to complete. He was also commissioned to re-sculpt the replica of the Blue Whale skull as well as other bones.
The Blue Whale project team completed articulation at the beginning of April 2010. The whale’s massive skeleton was packed up and safely taken for her final voyage at sea. She arrived at UBC on April 7, 2010, almost exactly two years after she was exhumed in PEI.
The talented crew of articulators, painters and sculptors joined us to complete the finishing touches on the skeleton and she was ready for the crowds who attended a great first blue whale preview event on May 22, 2010.
The whale skeleton is on permanent display at The Beaty Biodiversity Museum. At 26 m long, it is the largest blue whale skeleton on display in Canada, and one of only 21 worldwide.
See more at: http://www.beatymuseum.ubc.ca/blue-whale-project
Since the completion of the project David has continued to use the rib molds to create unique and striking sculptures.
To date, the rib sculptures have been displayed in four public sculpture trails: Sidney Sculpture walk; Kingsbrae Sculpture Garden; Castlegaar sculpture walk and Oak Bay Sculpture trail ( Eye of the ocean and rebirth) He also has another sculpture in a private collection ( Ahab’s altar) They have even appeared in the ‘Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters’ movie by Fox Studios.
The ‘Origins’ project is an exciting initiative whereby David uses the ribs to create unique sculptural forms. The vision is to have these forms in many cities around the world, raising awareness of the need to preserve and protect our whale populations and also use them as metaphorical symbols.
The sculptures can be free standing or hang as mobiles. They can be cast in multiples. They are available in bronze; resin or marble/granite. David is in the initial stages of developing concepts to turn the ribs into fountains and also incorporate light and sound.
These sculptures are completely unique and speak to us on multiple levels.
If you have a general inquiry or would like to commission/purchase or sponsor one of the ‘Origins’ sculptures contact David directly at The Sculpture Studio : firstname.lastname@example.org