Dave Dando

Nelson, BC

Dave Dando

Featured Sculpture

Dave Dando - Naka "Buddy" Bench (powder coated steel)

There's a lovely contrast in the photo accompanying Dando's information sheet for this year's Sculpturewalk. Front and centre is this year's intriguing entry, in the background are some of the remarkable metal bird/wooden plinth sculptures he has submitted in the past. Yes, it is his backyard adorned with some of his spectacular creations.

Dando's flexibility as a sculptor is apparent - he's always creative and comfortable even as the process and styling changes dramatically. A case in point is his entry this year.

The bench in question was a commission to honour the contributions of the retiring principal of Kinnaird Elementary School in Castlegar, Wayne Naka. As such, it is a one of a kind work although Dando has created several other benches in the past.

"While I've done a couple of benches over the years, they are not the primary focus of my sculpting using metal as the principal medium. It took a long time, but I've realized I'm a wildlife artist first and foremost.

"That being said, this project was special to me so I've attempted to incorporate the transmission of care and empathy into it through the human and animal figures."

Dando has succeeded admirably. Naka "Buddy" Bench is practical and artistic, functional and beautiful. It conveys life and continuous flow in its intricately detailed, inviting form.

A web of lacey metal filaments forms the comfortable looking back and seat. The supports are faceless though distinctly human figures on either side, again painstakingly fabricated from strands of metal. The adult squats, arms extended, releasing a symbolic, brightly contrasting red salmon to the children countering him.

The figures meld seamlessly - and are a flowing, unbroken extension of - the back/seat. The inference is apparent and moving; education is caring, loving support and an ongoing transfer of knowledge. The salmon represents that transfer between mentor and recipients. It is a wonderfully delicate yet solid piece that was obviously a labour of love for Dando.

Originally from Daylesford near Melbourne, Australia, Dando and his artist wife Cherie Evans and their children moved to Nelson in 2012. With a background in masonry and woodcarving, he has settled on metal as his preferred medium.

An adherent of Japanese paper craft (kiragami), he incorporates the flexibility and fluidity of paper into sheet metal fabrication, allowing form and proportion from constant reworking, subtraction and shaping to realize the desired end result.

"My work is often a statement of personal lament. I express my dismay and concern at our lack of sensitivity and connection within our biosphere. My sculptures speak of the collision of the natural and industrial worlds, and our apparent deafness to the resultant degradation of what we have around us.

"The irony of fabricating living subjects from recycled metal sourced from large scale rural-based industry is apparent and obvious."

Passionate and fervent, he has breathed life and creativity into an inanimate object as a special nod to Mr. Naka's role in educating our youth. Naka "Buddy" Bench is a warm and inviting sculpture - one that iterates the message/concern expressed in all of Dando's unique metal creations.


Artist's Sculptures