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Creative Journeys - Transformative Stories

There is a part of each of us held in these artworks and their stories, 

for they speak of our search for what it means to be human,

and to feel a deeper sense of belonging and connection

within the wider living world.

RECONNECTING WITH THE EARTH      REMEMBERING WHO WE ARE     REDISCOVERING OUR COMMON HUMANITY

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A Life of Creativity with Purpose

“Noel Ashton has the seeking mind of a scientist and the creative soul of an artist, and he brings these two facets together in a stunning offering for our modern world.

By engaging both his scientific mind and the vehicles of language and art, he creates, and facilitates for others, the process of a transformative creative journey. Through the centre of Noel's life and work runs the emancipating theme of creativity with purpose, offering us opportunities to engage, encounter different perspectives, to reflect, and ultimately redefine our relationship to ourselves, to each other and to the natural world.  

ELIZABETH CAIRNS

The Empowered Entrepreneur

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The storytellers of Africa speak

                 not that we will listen

                         but that we shall remember...

But how do we remember

          in a world that seems to have forgotten so much?

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Every artwork and sculpture holds within it a story, 
        and an invitation to follow the storyline,
                    along a journey of self discovery. 

 

It is an invitation to pause, and in the silence, to follow the storyteller into that space of remembering. It might be a unique encounter with the magnificent rhino or a curious fox; of slipping below the surface and coming face to face with the mysterious blue whale; a route that takes us up into the mountains and the tranquil silence of a sacred cave, and beyond, into the stories of the stars and the infinity of now.

These are pathways into nature, but in awakening our curiosity and deepening the moment, they are also an invitation to connect mindfully with a fuller experience of life. For it is here that we begin to come home to ourselves.

Below are a selection of public programmes offered through the years:

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Mapungubwe Revisited

September 2016

It could be said that the 800 year old little Mapungubwe

rhino linked those people to the land through a sacred thread of belonging....
And I offer this sculpture of Mapungubwe Revisited as a way to remind us that
the natural world around us is much more than a commodity, a space or a view, it is an intrinsic part of who we are and where we have come from, and each rhino killed or tract of land destroyed is another part of ourselves lost.
It makes visible the deep connection we have with the natural world, a connection which sustains our souls and reminds us to tread more lightly upon the earth.

“Your journey was fascinating, your artwork stunning and your talk powerful.

What I love about you is you don’t preach, you just talk from the heart.”

MICHAELA STRACHAN

BBC Wildlife Presenter

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Sacred Ocean

November 2008

It was the moral compass of Archbishop Tutu's words when he unveiled Sacred Ocean that reinforced my vision when he said 'it is more for ourselves, even more than for the whales that we say no to whaling'. This echoed my own understanding that it is in our relationship with whales that we can begin to see ourselves more clearly, and through this artwork, to invite the millions who saw the sculpture to reflect on the choices we have to make between kindness and cruelty. For this not only affects the lives of the magnificent whales and so many other species that share our beautiful blue planet, but at its essence, it is a choice which has a profound effect on the inner peace and wellbeing of our lives as a knowing and reflective species. 

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52 Artworks - A Year in Nature

November 2013

If, during our busy days of rushing towards tomorrow we pause, and take a moment to reflect, an invisible shift occurs, not only in what we see, but also in how we see. And in this, a slow change can ease its way out of our bones and into our fuller consciousness, a deeper knowing, an awakenening, of connecting. 
And if we see a beautiful otter or a curious raven, then we are not only invited into seeing them more clearly, but also in finding them within us. For we know the otter, the owl and the kestrel, how could we not after having walking beside them for thousands of years.

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Into the Oceans - where science meets art

"One of the privileges of my life has been to take people below the surface of the sea and to bring them face-to-face with the magnificent whales and dolphins, and to share their extraordinary stories - for that is the first step towards their protection."

To many, Noel is known for his paintings, sculptures, scientific illustrations and books on the world's cetaceans, but what is less well known is the rigorous scientific research and fieldwork that has formed the foundation to all of this work.  After graduating in Environmental and Geographical Science from UCT, Noel focused his research on the oceans, and central to this has been his innovative process of using complex data sets to morphologically map the world's species, resulting in highly accurate scientific illustrations which have received international recognition, including being published by the International Whaling Commission.

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The Windows on the Oceans Exhibitions

September 2003

A unique visual journey into the oceans that included the twelve De Beers Cetacean Panels and Noel's scientific paintings. Launched at the Two Oceans Aquarium by the Chairman of the De Beers Group, Jonathan Oppenheimer, before travelling to the Whale Museum in Hermanus, with a second set of scientific panels for the National Aquarium of Namibia in Swakopmund.

“I have known the Ashton’s for many years and have always admired their intimate knowledge of the region, their passion for its wonderful whales and dolphins, and their remarkable efforts to drum up urgently needed support for conservation efforts to look after them.”

MARK CARWARDINE

 Zoologist & BBC Presenter

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Journeys in Search of the Whale

and other stories

August 2014

What is it that draws us to the edge of the ocean to

spend time with the magnificent whales, mammals

separated from us by the surface of the sea...

“I have been an Audio Visual producer for 20 years and have been involved in many presentations and Noel Ashton’s presentation on whales and dolphins had me riveted from start to finish.”

MICK HEDDERMAN

Cape Town Tour Guide Association

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A Sense of Place - a new series of paintings

"There are aspects to landscapes that speak to more than the eye, for they engage us in a deeper conversation. To the creative sensibility, these moments require a response that becomes very direct, visceral even, resulting in a journey that pulls us into the heart of the creative challenge. But it is from these encounters that some of my truest works have found form".              

Noel Ashton, 2022

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