At Native Visions Galleries At Harbourside Place, Lifelike Animal Sculptures Are Only The Beginning
Native Visions Galleries moved from its more than 20-year location on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard to Jupiter’s Harbourside Place, and with it comes a collection of renowned, multicultural artwork.
A lion trio lies beside a tree that’s been severed at its waist by a storm now receding in the distance. Around the corner, a wild boar trots across a log with her three miniature swine offspring. And not too far off, a stampede of elephants kicks up clouds of dirt that meet the ends of their low-hanging tusks.
What’s odd—this is happening in Jupiter at the relocated Native Visions Galleries, which moved in December from its more than 20-year location on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The animals are made from oil paints, bronze metals and rare wood, but they sure look real. As they should—they’re crafted by many of Africa’s most talented painters and sculptors.
“Sometimes you literally hear people gasp when they come in,” says Kristen Parker, gallery co-owner. Amidst the jungle, she sits behind a desk, next to a bronze antelope, manning the gallery. Her husband, gallery founder and co-owner Ross Parker, is at the couple’s second home in Zimbabwe, likely at a game reserve, taking pictures of boars, elephants or lions. His pictures may eventually turn into brush strokes on canvas—Ross Parker often works directly with the artists. His involvement is actually what got the business started.
Ross Parker was born in Zimbabwe and fought for the country’s independence until 1980. During that time, he met Craig Bone, who after the war asked Ross Parker to sell his art in America. So he did, and eventually, Bone became world-renowned.
While Native Visions Galleries no longer hosts Bone’s work, it does host more than 30 notable artists. Some names include David Langmead, Loet Vanderveen and James Stroud. Most artists reside in Africa, where they draw inspiration and find specific materials, like artist Mopho Gonde, who only uses leadwood for his sculptures.
Pieces like Gonde’s can go for as much as $125,000. But the gallery also hosts smaller pieces, like Joseph Quillan’s glass collectables that cost about $300. Kristen Parker says that often pieces don’t even make it into the gallery, and instead they’re sold to collectors through the email blasts she sends announcing new arrivals.
Native Visions helps artists promote their works, but the gallery also holds fundraisers for charities including The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Wounded Warrior Project, The Boys & Girls Club, the Humane Society and more.