Hollis Taggart is pleased to offer editions of The Red Palm Nut, Jane Goodall and David Greybeard, a remarkable bronze sculpture by artist Marla Friedman. A commemoration of Dr. Jane Goodall’s monumental achievements, the sculpture captures the groundbreaking moment of connection between Goodall as a twenty-six-year-old field researcher in Gombe Tanzania, and David Greybeard, the first chimpanzee to grant her trust. Of the sculpture Goodall has noted: “Marla has done more than just capture the likeness of Jane and David Greybeard, she has captured a relationship between human and animal. And I hope that this sculpture will enable more people to understand that close relationship that we have with the animals with whom we share this planet.”
Goodall has described the importance of the moment represented in the work, when after following David Greybeard, she discovered him seated on the forest floor and was able to communicate with him non-verbally. This initial breakthrough enabled the progress of her pioneering research:
“I was following him along a trail in the forest. I lost him for a moment but then found him sitting. I sat near him and lying on the ground between us was this ripe, red palm nut, which chimpanzees love. So, I picked it up and I held it towards him on the palm of my hand and he turned his face away. So, I put my hand closer and he turned and looked directly into my eyes. He reached out and he took and dropped that palm nut but then very gently squeezed my fingers and that’s how chimpanzees reassure each other. So, in that moment we understood each other without the use of human words, the language of gestures. He understood that my motive was good.”
Friedman’s sculpture conveys this moment of unity beautifully through postures and gestures. The bodies of Jane and David Greybeard echo each other perfectly, despite the space between them. Each is seated with knees bent, head turned towards the other, and arms extended to create a perfect arc shape above the red palm nut. Jane gazes downward, submissively, as David looks directly into her eyes. The vulnerability of each subject is palpable as they breach the divide between human and animal.
Friedman embraces an intuitive creative process, working from moment to moment to harness skill and instinct in order to develop a likeness of her subjects and a strong message for the composition. She has a masterful ability to authentically reproduce the sitter’s physical form while simultaneously capturing the essence of a persona. Describing the significance of this sculpture she has reflected that: “I hope the message of the sculpture is our empathic connection with ALL animals. The universal unspoken language. An awareness and sensitivity to the feelings of all living beings. Jane and I share this concern in our collaboration on The Red Palm Nut. This message of empathy is profound and important especially at this moment in history. Kindness begets kindness.”
The original casting of The Red Palm Nut was acquired by the Field Museum in 2018 and graces the museum’s marble entrance hall. Hollis Taggart is offering two sizes for subsequent editions. A bronze edition of six will be available at the monumental size of 36 x 80 x 44 inches and a bronze edition of 10 will be available in a smaller version measuring 12 x 27 x 14 ¾ inches. All works include Jane Goodall’s inscribed signature. Friedman’s oeuvre includes powerful renderings of Dr. Maya Angelou, sanctioned by The Caged Bird Foundation and Abraham Lincoln for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library Foundation. Other notable works include portraits of United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Apollo astronaut Captain James Lovell, Rosa Parks and Booker T. Washington. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Jane Goodall
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, is the Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Dr. Goodall’s resulting observations and findings revolutionized the scientific world, altering forever our understanding of humankind’s relationship to the rest of the animal kingdom. Goodall and Friedman hope the sculpture emphasizes our connection and responsibility to protect the animals. This vital work lives on today in the form of Dr. Goodall’s community-centered conservation non-profit organization, the Jane Goodall Institute.
VIDEO: Dr. Goodall Reflects on The Red Palm Nut sculpture by artist Marla Friedman