Benedict Hughes wins the Public Speaks Prize
Benedict Hughes graduated with an MA from City and Guilds of London Art school in 2016. Prior to graduating Hughes worked as a metal fabricator constructing sculptures for a variety of artists and commercial clients. He has also exhibited regularly including a solo show at the Empire gallery and has won commissions to make monumental work for companies including Guinness, Honda and Wieden+Kennedy.
The sculpture depicts a life size wooly mammoth fabricated in steel and painted white. Made from sheets of mild steel of various thicknesses, the steel has been cut, twisted and welded to form a representation of the iconic ice age wooly mammoth, standing at over three metres in height.
The concept behind the mammoth sculpture is to raise the question of how these fantastic beasts, that roamed the local Devon vicinity thousands of years ago, mysteriously disappeared and became extinct. Although it is undecided, their extinction was probably caused by over hunting by man and global warming, an issue prevalent today in the protection of the natural world. The sculpture painted white, a play on the white elephant saying of an inappropriate gift, is a reference to the possibility of a scientific de-extinction and whether that is an appropriate cause of action.