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Paintbrushes at the ready! There's a gorilla in need of a makeover

Paintbrushes at the ready! There's a gorilla in need of a makeover

Saturday 01 December 2018

Paintbrushes at the ready! There's a gorilla in need of a makeover

Gorillas might be a firm favourite at the zoo, but how to make the banana-loving gorillas more a-peel-ing?

According to Durrell, the answer could be with a lick of paint.

They're inviting local artists and schools to decorate life-size gorilla sculptures, which will be displayed around the island next summer to mark the 60th anniversary of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and help raise funds for a state-of-the-art new gorilla house at the zoo.

The conservation charity has partnered with Wild in Art for the 'Go Wild Gorillas' art trail, which aims to lead people on a trail of discovery, not only to see the brightly coloured, life-size gorilla sculptures themselves, but the nature in which they are placed.

Go Wild Gorilla Durrell

Pictured: Ben Robertson, aka Bokra, painted the first gorilla in the trail.

'Wild in Art' specialises in the creation of mass participation art trails. It is hoped that by bringing artists, businesses, schools and communities together, 'Go Wild Gorillas' will generate momentum and support to achieve Durrell’s aim to create a wilder, healthier and more colourful world for future generations.

The collaborative, community-orientated, public art project was launched in September with the reveal of the first sculpture, which was created by artist Ben 'Bokra' Robertson. Organisers said that Bokra's signature bold patterns, bright colours and pop art style embodied the fun and provocative nature of the event.

Now that challenge is being opened up to other artists and schools. Local and international artists have until 6 January to submit their designs for the gorilla sculptures, which will then be shortlisted by a panel of local art experts and presented to the event sponsors, who will choose their favourite design for their gorilla.

Durrell School_group_2013.jpg

Pictured: Young islanders will get to decorate their own smaller gorilla sculpture.

Durrell says this is an opportunity to take part in the "biggest ever, mass participation, public art event across the Channel Islands." Successful artists will be commissioned to customise a gorilla sculpture, which will act as a showcase for their artwork, attracting tourists and local residents to discover conservation through the visual arts.

Bokra commented: "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."

Local schools are also encouraged to get involved. The Go Wild Gorillas Creative Learning Programme is open to all of Jersey’s primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges and community groups. Young islanders will get to adopt and design their own smaller ‘young gorilla’ sculpture and learn about conservation while also experiencing the importance of creativity.


Pictured: A school group letting their creativity shine through the 'wild' art project.

Tom Dingle, Art House Jersey Director, said the organisation is delighted to support the project. “‘Go Wild Gorillas’ provides artists with commissioned opportunities and establishes an ongoing relationship with patrons and the corporate community," he explained. "To be able to reap all of the benefits that art can offer our community we must find ways to support the people behind the art, and this initiative does just that.”

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