What is Wow!Gorillas?
Bristol Gorillas are life-sized fiberglass gorilla sculptures on display on some of the many Bristol city landmarks for ten weeks between the 6th of July and the 7th September 2011. There are 61 life-sized gorillas in total which are on display around the city and 90 mini ones (70cm tall) on display in more secure locations such as shops, libraries, cafes and schools.
The project, called Wow!Gorillas, was initiated by Bristol Zoo Gardens, in partnership with Wild in Art. It all started about a year ago when Bristol Zoo Gardens and its partner launched an initiative looking for artists (such as illustrators, painters, photographers and graffiti artist) to help design and decorate the life-sized sculptures. The project’s main aim is to raise awareness of the extinction crisis facing primates in the wild in occasion of Bristol Zoo’s 175th birthday.
350 designs were showcased and 60 of them have been sponsored by different organisations to become life size gorillas. Mini gorilla sculptures were acquired by schools for the children to design and decorate.
In September, when the exhibition ends, the life-sized sculptures will be auctioned to raise money to support the work of two important organisations in Bristol: Bristol Zoo Gardens which drives the conservation project for gorillas and other apes in Cameroon, and Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal which raises funds for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
The mini gorillas will not be auctioned at the end of the exhibition, instead they will be returned to their respective schools.