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Alastair Gibson’s God Save The African Queen: Pushing the Boundaries of Carbon Fibre Art

Alastair Gibson, an accomplished artist based in the UK, is making waves in the art world with his anatomically correct sculptures of natural and human forms created using carbon fibre. With a background in engineering, including years in Formula One, Gibson’s innovative approach to his chosen medium pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved with carbon fibre while exploring broader themes of development and change. One of his remarkable pieces, God Save The African Queen, exemplifies his talent and vision.

God Save The African Queen is a human skull sculpture made entirely of solid carbon fibre, enhanced with interactive features. Its striking beauty captivates viewers even before delving into its conceptual origins or intricate design. Gibson’s expertise lies in creating artworks that are aesthetically pleasing, rooted in meaning, and meticulously crafted.

Drawing on his 15 years as a full-time artist and over two decades of engineering experience, Gibson incorporates genuine parts from modern Grand Prix cars into his carbon fibre sculptures. This unique approach accentuates the natural forms he portrays and prompts reflections on evolution and iteration.

God Save The African Queen, inspired by Gibson’s childhood in South Africa and paying homage to the Ndebele, Xhosa, and Lesotho nations, incorporates functional parts from a Grand Prix vehicle. The eyebrows, for instance, feature gold-plated electrical terminals used in the battery system of a modern F1 car, while the short hair consists of Inconel nuts used to fasten the exhaust system to a hybrid V6 engine. The sculpture also includes six sets of interchangeable earrings, symbolizing the significance of jewellery in African culture.

Gibson’s talent for ingenuity, honed through his experience on the Grand Prix circuit and vintage motorbike restoration, shines through in his exploration of carbon fibre. Building upon his previous work in the limited-edition sculpture series We Are All Made of Stars, God Save The African Queen pushes the boundaries of composition in carbon fibre art. The sculpture is crafted from horizontally laminated resin-impregnated carbon fibre sheets, creating a tooling block from which the intricate skull design is meticulously milled using a 5-axis machine.

The result is a truly unique piece that showcases carbon fibre in both artistic and design terms. Gibson’s future works in 2023 promise to build upon this innovative approach, with his most ambitious sculpture to date. The waves visible in the presentation of the solid carbon fibre, accentuated by lacquer finishing, give the artwork a raw majesty befitting its name. God Save The African Queen serves as a recognition of our origins, both in its use of carbon as a structural element and its focus on the geographical cradle of humanity.

Gibson’s exploration of carbon fibre is a celebration of the material itself and the infinite wonder found in the world. Through his artworks, he engages in a dialogue between artist and medium, creator and appreciator, investigating the art of the possible with integrity and tenacity. By choosing to work with carbon fibre, a material that represents the building blocks of life and the future of mankind, Gibson challenges us to think critically and embrace self-awareness and forward thinking.

ArtÓ gallery, established in 2022, shares Alastair Gibson’s passion for art and believes in the power of human connections and inspiration. The gallery is proud to collaborate with Gibson, showcasing his renowned and respected artworks that continue to push boundaries and evolve his practice.

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