Powerful Sculptures of Overlapping Hands Visualize Our Connection to Nature and Each Other

Anton Smit Tornado Sculpture

South African sculptor Anton Smit is known for his powerful artwork that centers around themes of reconciliation, glory, and suffering. Whether in a large or small-scale format, Smit's sculptures are a force of nature. Particularly powerful are his bronze sculptures of hands. These overlapping hands form small circles, or, as they are often titled, tornados.

Tornado and Whirlwind are a series of dynamic sculptures that speak to the interconnectedness of us all. It is only through the contribution of all the hands that the circle is made whole. This message is particularly meaningful in these trying times when wars rage, and people often point to our differences rather than our similarities.

Through his sculpture, Smit hopes to draw the viewer into conversation. This is certainly achieved with these hypnotic sculptures, which immediately pull the viewer in. In their stunning simplicity, the pieces ask us to ponder the fact that we are one of many. And that only together can we continue to thrive. This message can be carried over to many different relationships, whether they be interhuman, interspecies, or between humans and the environment.

While Smit's public sculptures can be viewed across Cape Town and Pretoria, as well as in international exhibitions, the best place to view his body of work is at the Anton Smit Sculpture Park. This unique outdoor gallery is located an hour outside of Johannesburg and was created by Smit in 2003. Spread over two and a half acres, the grounds also house Smit's studio, as well as an art gallery and art cafe.

South African sculptor Anton Smit is known for his powerful artwork.

Green Speckles Tornado by Anton Smith

In his work, a recurring theme of overlapping hands forming a circle is called Tornado.

Green Speckles Tornado by Anton Smith Anton Smith Tornado Sculpture Anton Smith Tornado Sculpture

The sculptures are visible both in galleries and in Smit's sculpture park outside Johannesburg.

Anton Smit Tornado Sculpture Detail of Anton Smit Tornado Sculpture

The work forces viewers to ponder the connectedness of life on many levels.

Detail of Anton Smit Tornado Sculpture Detail of Anton Smit Tornado Sculpture

See how Smit's work is spread across his impressive sculpture park.

Anton Smit: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Anton Smit.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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