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Published: 30 January 2021

By Andy Ross

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Articles of the Week - number forty-five - a coelacanth

Walter Oltmann is a South African artist who is intrigued by beginnings...and endings.

This piece in the studio collection is large, almost life-size, and depicts a coelacanth, the prehistoric fish that was brought to the attention of Western science as still extant in 1938. Previous to this they were only known from the fossil record and were thought to have died out 66 million years ago, but the revelation that the fish were still living stunned the scientific world and caught popular imagination. This textile is embroidered white on white by a women's co-operative in South Africa, the embroiderers following the artist's lines on calico. Walter also uses weaving, particularly with wire, and knotting in his work, as you can see in this link.

For more about Walter Oltmann and his work follow this link.