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Patrick Mavros has not only created some of the most extraordinary silver sculptures in Africa, he has created around them an environment just as extraordinary, in which he lives and works. The workshops, the family homestead, the wildlife sanctuary, the offices and reception, together with his wonderful sales studio, are all built so as to form a small village on his estate in the wild hills outside Harare in Zimbabwe.

Mavros is an incurable storyteller and a full-blooded bon vivant as well as a master sculptor. That’s partly why his creations communicate so well. The gift of storytelling is perhaps inherited from his Mediterranean ancestors, but as a fourth-generation Zimbabwean, Patrick Mavros is most at home in the African bush. Born and raised in Matabeleland (the wild, western province of Zimbabwe), the young Patrick developed a deep affinity for its wildlife, particularly the birds of prey. Like many an artist before him, he strove to capture the form and essence of the birds and animals on paper – as evidenced by his boyhood sketchpads. Adulthood, however, laid out a more prosaic career for Patrick, and he became first a baker, then a soldier. Fortunately fate, in the classic tradition, smiled upon the young man and he met, wooed and won his wife, Catja Halsted. The petite, warm-hearted Catja became the pivotal influence that was to set Mavros on his path to becoming one of the world’s most accomplished sculptors.

Patrick, newly-wed and wanting to give Catja an original and personal gift, carved a pair of earrings in the form of roses, her favourite flower. Mavros developed his own unique sculpting technique, using innate artistic skills and his acute eye for detail and essence. The more he worked, the more he was inspired to try more ambitious subjects. He experimented with various tools and materials, and, with the encouragement of his wife and family, was soon involved in his own full-time business.

Most of his early pieces were one-offs. However, to meet growing demand he studied and adopted the age-old art of lost-wax casting, whereby a mould is used only once. This method ensures that every detail of the original is present in the casting, and that each resulting piece is individually hand-made. He decided on silver as a material in order to express both the precious nature and essential purity of his subject – wildlife.

Today, with Catja and his four sons, a slightly eccentric collection of pointers, spaniels, African Grey parrots, horses and friends – not to mention a state-of-the-art silversmithing workshop on a tree-clad estate in the hills, Patrick Mavros is an artist at the height of his creative maturity.

Although he commands considerable respect from collectors worldwide, Patrick Mavros continues to keep a close, personal involvement with the sale of his creations and the people who purchase them. For the mogul or mechanic, the artist is a genuinely approachable, gregarious, interesting man who enjoys nothing more than welcoming you himself, while showing off his collection and the wonderful environment he has created to house it.

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