What do you get when you cross a gorilla and a paintbrush? It's not the start of a bad joke, but Durrell's latest wild fundraising idea ahead of its 60th anniversary next year.
This week, the conservation trust revealed the first piece of 'Go Wild Gorillas,' a "world-class" sculpture trail aiming to raise funds for a new, state of art gorilla house at Jersey Zoo.
The charity has partnered with Wild in Art, whose events have been hugely popular in Australia, South Africa, Brazil and at the London Olympics, helping raise more than £10million for charitable causes.
Created by artist Ben Robertson, who is known as Bokra, the first sculpture was revealed on Thursday. Bokra's signature bold patterns, bright colours and pop art style embody the fun and provocative nature of this event, organisers said.
Pictured: Mural artist Ben Robertson painted the first gorilla in bright patterns.
Ben has previously worked with Durrell on a number of projects, including a commissioned mural in the CEO’s office at Durrell depicting a fossa, a lemur and a combination of Malagasy and animal prints. Earlier this year, in partnership with James Carter, aka Midnight, he completed a large street-art style makeover of the orangutan house at Jersey Zoo. For the Rainforest Ball in 2017, Ben also created a unique rainforest inspired print that was used to cover a sofa by The Loving Chair company that was then auctioned at the ball.
Commenting on his involvement in the project, the artist said he was “thrilled to partner with Durrell to create the first Go Wild Gorilla."
"It’s such an amazing opportunity for artists to get involved with this project and it will have a really positive impact on Jersey’s cultural scene. Most importantly though it will highlight the plight of gorillas and spread awareness of Durrell’s important work saving wildlife," he commented.
Pictured: It is hoped the sculpture trail will help raise funds for a new gorilla house at Jersey Zoo.
During the presentation, Durrell’s CEO Dr Lesley Dickie, and Charlie Langhorne, Co-founder and Director of Wild in Art talked about the gorilla trail and what it hopes to achieve for residents, visitors, schools and businesses as well as the gorillas at Jersey Zoo.
Dr Dickie said: “Next summer, brightly coloured, artist imagined, life size gorilla sculptures will be placed across the island which will lead people on a trail of discovery not only to see the gorillas themselves, but the nature in which they are placed.”
Mr Langhorne added: “By connecting people through creativity and nature, Go Wild Gorillas will bringbusinesses, artists, young people and communities together to help make it an art trail to remember.”
Pictured: Dr Lesley Dickie and Charlie Langhorne with the gorilla.
Local and international artists alike will be invited to submit designs which will be presented to sponsors to select their own unique piece of artwork. The successful artists will then be commissioned to customise each sculpture.
The large-scale community project aims to raise funds for Durrell, in particular for a state of the art new gorilla house at Jersey Zoo. Go Wild Gorillas will also play an important role in Durrell’s new strategy by encouraging more people to get outdoors and reconnect with nature.
Durrell is inviting business, organisations, schools and community groups to join them and find out how they can be part of this unique sculpture trail and creative learning programme that "informs, enriches, entertains and will be enjoyed by islanders and visitors to Jersey."
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