Jersey Zoo 2019 to 2020
Go Wild Gorillas Campaign
Painting a life-size gorilla, 'What.., On Earth?'
Many years ago I illustrated four childrens' books featuring the Andrex Puppy. The books were written by Gerald Durrell and I was priviledged to meet Gerry at the end of the project. He invited me to his famous zoo for endangered species on Jersey. Sadly, the visit never happened because Gerry, not well at the time we met, passed away shortly after.
Imagine my surprise and delight when early this year I again heard from the Zoo. They were remembering the Andrex books and asking me if I would like to participate in their campaign to raise funds for a new gorilla enclosure. Life-size gorillas were being produced and artists invited to submit designs, which if chosen, would form a summer-long display in venues all over the island. My design 'What.., On Earth?' was successful as one of 42 chosen and early in the summer I began the work of transferring the design onto the resin gorilla. The sculpture then made it's way to the island and found it's way to Liberation Square in St Helier.
In early November I was lucky enough to attend the auction for the gorillas in the Royal Yacht Hotel. An extra-ordinary evening developed where the sale of the 42 gorillas raised an astounding £1.14 million! More astonishing for me personally
was the £62,000 that my gorilla made - the second highest figure in the history
of such events.
In addition the final lot in the auction was a blank gorilla. The buyer of this could
commission one of the participating artists to design and paint their own personalised sculpture. I was delighted and honoured to discover that I was
chosen, so I will shortly be starting a second gorilla! Watch this space...
I was so chuffed to have finally made my way to the island and more so to have been able to contribute to such worthy work from Gerry's legacy. Thank you
and well-done to all involved!
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The first mark. Beginning the transferring of the design in pencil.
Painting on the countries. I wanted to keep the globe as accurate as possible, given the limitations of the gorilla shape!
Further on in the painting process...
A detail from the frieze of animals.
The finished painting with varnish applied.