Their Life in our Hands

Monday 23 September 2019

Their Life in our Hands’, by Andrew Sinclair - the inspiration behind the bronze

The Helping Rhinos spring event ‘Rhinos Road to Recovery’ was a huge success raising over £60,000 for vital security and communications technology for Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

One of the auction items, a beautiful bronze of a rhino and her calf, was one of the highlights of the evening. Sold at £12,000 during fierce bidding, it is one of six casts by well-known sculptor Andrew Sinclair.

Helping Rhinos supporter Chris Wise commissioned the bronze and the story behind his decision to approach Andrew Sinclair with the commission is truly inspiring.

At Helping Rhinos event ‘Shades of Grey- Seven Saviours of Black and White Rhino’ in 2018, Chris was inspired by the story behind auction item ‘Name a Black Rhino Calf’.

Chris Wise
If you wish to purchase a limited edition (one of only nine made) Life in Our Hands Bronze please email
[email protected]
Bronze Rhino

the story behind auction item ‘Name a Black Rhino Calf.

Nabuul, the mother of the calf to be named, was a victim of rhino poaching in a conservancy neighbouring Ol Pejeta in Kenya. She was found near her dead mother's body, vulnerable and alone and unable to fend for herself. She was moved by plane to Ol Pejeta where she was hand-reared in the safety of an endangered species enclosure, in the company of another rhino orphan - Lola

Nabuul and Lola, defying the stereotypical aggression of black rhinos, became firm favourites with the rangers and their keepers, who kept a close eye on their progress. In December 2014, as they became less and less familiar with human interaction and approaching breeding age, a gap was made in the endangered species enclosure and they were encouraged to take their first steps into the wild. Their adoring keepers continued to monitor Nabuul and Lola and were delighted when Nabuul gave birth to a female calf in July 2017.

At the 2018 event, the naming of the calf was one of the most highly sought after auction items and was named ‘Angel Wertheim’ thanks to a very generous bidder. Chris was so enthralled with Nabuul’s journey from frightened calf, to her recovery, to being released back into the wild to being a mother of her own calf, that he decided to commission a bronze sculpture in their honour.

He approached the very talented sculptor Andrew Sinclair to make a bronze of Nabuul and Angela Wertheim with a brief that would encompass not only the heart warming story of Nabuul’s recovery and the birth of her first calf, but one that would show the proud, feisty attitude of the black rhino. On top of this Andrew added a very special feature of black rhino calves incorporating their playful nature which confirms him as a leading animal sculptor with enormous sensitivity and understanding of the animal subject and the black rhino in particular.

In the sculpture, Chris wanted to show what an incredible animal the black rhino is. In his own words: “black rhinos have such attitude”. And it is this attitude he wanted to portray in the bronze. The image is one of a proud mother, sniffing the air to gauge if there is danger around and at the same time with one eye fondly looking on at her calf who is frolicking playfully beside her. For anyone who has seen a rhino calf they will know just how playful they really are.

The mother and calf are resting on a large hand, as denoted by the title, ‘Their Life in Our Hands’. To Chris, the addition of the hand was an important one, denoting that the future of rhinos is very much in our hands.

During the design process, Andrew began by studying a large number of photos that had been taken of the pair, and working out how best to portray Angela Wertheim’s very playful character.

Rhinos are the only four-legged African animals that actually frolic like a baby lamb. It was this movement that Andrew wanted to capture, along with the image of Nabuul as being a strong, determined mother who was simply not going to be beaten.

The bronze was sold at the Helping Rhinos 2019 spring event, ‘Rhinos Road to Recovery’ for an incredible £12,000. At the time, Chris announced that a further five bronzes have been commissioned and will be available to buy.

If you would like to purchase one of the remaining bronzes, please contact us [email protected] for more information.

More about this event

Rhinos Road to Recovery