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Why Great Gorillas make great art

Posted: 25/10/2013
Why Great Gorillas make great art

Paignton Zoo’s Great Gorillas Project reaches its climax on 6th November with an exclusive charity auction.

It’s a chance for collectors, art lovers and people in search of a truly unique conversation piece to get their hands on a real one-off.

Paignton Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “We’ve seen the Great Gorillas as a big, free, fun public event for the summer. But now it’s time to look at the individual pieces as collectible art.

“They have been created by established professional artists, up and coming new names and undiscovered talent. They are imposing, playful, friendly – some are very striking and immediate, like Not So Different, sponsored by Cathedral Financial Management. Others, like Back of Beyond, warrant closer inspection. Every angle presents you with something different.”

So why buy a Great Gorilla? “Because you appreciate the art, you love the design, because you want to support a great cause – gorilla conservation – or you want a memento of a very special summer.” Each gorilla comes with a full certificate of authenticity and full provenance.

Similar events elsewhere have generated huge levels of interest and huge sums of money for charity as people clamour to get their hands on a piece of unorthodox art.

“I’m expecting some of our more high profile gorillas – Darth Vader, Hearts or Hippocampus Guttulatus, sponsored by Cavanna Homes, for example – to generate a lot of interest. I can see Back of Beyond – sponsored by Babbacombe Model Village – finding its place in the right garden. Some gorillas would be perfect for the foyer of a successful business – perhaps Flagged, or Hope.

“Kirstie Allsopp’s Hearts is a celebrity gorilla and needs a sophisticated home. Barry – who is entirely covered in blue glitter - could end up in a night club!” The project, celebrating Paignton Zoo’s 90th birthday, is raising funds for gorilla conservation and for Children’s Hospice South West.

A life-size model gorilla can seem like a big undertaking. After all, each one is nearly 5 feet tall and weighs 66 pounds. The Zoo can point you in the right direction for help with delivery and care; they can even put you in touch with the artist responsible for your gorilla.

The Zoo, a registered charity, is holding the auction on Wednesday 6th November at the Palace Theatre, Paignton, starting at 6.30pm. Most of the large sculptures will be up for auction. The ticket-only event will be led by auctioneer Robin Barlow. To register your interest in the auction, go to http://www.greatgorillas.org.uk/about-great-gorillas/auction or telephone 01803 697509.

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