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NOEL ASHTON
Born 25 December 1963
 

Education: Kingswood College
Tertiary: Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town

A lifetime in search of the whale has enabled Noel to speak of these mysterious ocean mammals in an original and unique voice. He has spent over 25 years studying whales and dolphins, specialising as a cetacean scientific illustrator and sculptor. Years in the field observing and studying cetaceans has given him an in-depth understanding of whale and dolphin morphology, and he has amassed an extensive database of the world’s species and their anatomical details.

Scientific illustration requires the synthesis of two very distinct worlds, the precision of science and the fluidity of art. Over the years Noel has developed a complex process of morphologically mapping the world’s species, with comparative field data being condensed and averaged in order to determine exact proportions of comparative measurements, such as the height and position of a dorsal fin, or the exact position of the eye or length of beak. This attention to detail has enabled Noel to create extremely accurate illustrations which many consider as artworks in their own right.

Through his programme Oceans of Africa, which he runs with his wife Belinda, he combines his science, paintings, sculpture and environmental philosophy within inspirational conservation initiatives. Over the years these have included the well-known IFAW Whale Walk along the seafront in Hermanus; the Benguela Dolphin Project on the west coast; and the acclaimed Whale Show, shown daily in Hermanus. Exhibitions, such as ‘Windows on the Ocean’ gave a unique insight into the oceans.

Noel’s paintings and sculptures are held in private collections locally and overseas.

He is also engaged actively as a public speaker around South Africa, with his popular talks including a wide range of topics around whales and dolphins.
 
As a specialist, Noel consults for the film industry and recently worked on the creation and characterization of the new Killer Whale for Warner Bros ‘Free Willy 4’.

In 2009, Archbishop Desmond Tutu launched Noel’s Sacred Ocean initiative, an anti whaling campaign based around his iconic 3,5m sculpture which is permanently positioned in the foyer of the Two Oceans Aquarium, and includes the innovative Great Whaling Debate.

Noel has recently launched the second phase of Sacred Ocean, a compelling Audio-Visual presentation titled ‘Journeys in Search of the Whale - Rethinking Our Place in a Changing World’, which has been created in collaboration with the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Exhibitions

1987
Solo wildlife exhibition in the Sanlam Hall, Kirstenbosch

1994
Solo wildlife exhibition in the Carmel Art Gallery, Constantia Village

2003
Windows on the Oceans Exhibition’ in the Two Oceans Aquarium, opened by Jonathan Oppenheimer of The De Beers Group, official sponsor of the exhibition

2004
Windows on the Oceans Exhibition’ in the Whale Museum, Hermanus, sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare

2008
Sacred Ocean anti-whaling sculpture unveiled in the Two Oceans Aquarium by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

2011
Annual wild life exhibition at The Cape Gallery

2012
A year in nature, solo exhibition at The Cape Gallery
The world we live in, annual wildlife exhibition at The Cape Gallery

2013
Encounters, annual wildlife exhibition at The Cape Gallery

2016
Wildlife, adventure and narrative, annual wildlife exhibition at The Cape Gallery

Noel Ashton

Artist: NOEL ASHTON
Title: Purple Heron
Size: 102 x 76 cm
Media: Acrylic on canvas
Price: R 9 800 Unframed

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