Family of chimps find a new home in Kingston

Artists Gillie and Marc Schattner have moved 10 chimp sculptures from London Bridge, down the river to Kingston.

In partnership with Kingston First, after the Schattners studied chimps in Africa, seeing how similar they were to humans, sharing 98% of our DNA, they decided to create the interactive sculptures.

“As public sculpture artists and wildlife activists, our method is to put wildlife front and centre in cities across the planet, making unforgettable experiences and recreating connections with the world,” said Gillie.

The 10 large bronze chimp sculptures are dotted around Kingston’s town centre for the next six months as a new and exciting art trail.

Map of Kingston trail. Photo: Kingston upon Thames.

The chimps are designed to be interactive: the public are encouraged to get as close as they want, examining the monkey’s body language, that is similar to that of our own.

Each of the ten sculptures depict behaviours such as foraging, nesting and imitation, along with our shared emotions such as grief and laughter said Kirsten Henly, Kingston First Chief Executive.

Kingston First is the town’s Business Improvement District which explore opportunities to encourage people to visit and spend time in the town centre. With arts and cultures trails such as the ‘Chimps are Family’ exhibition, it is a fantastic way to activate Kingston’s streets and spaces, creating varied experiences and a vibrant town centre said Henly.

The exhibition encourages visits to Kingston and positions the town as a destination for arts and culture, as well as calling for action to help endangered chimps.

“Living in cities, people don’t see the damage of habitat destruction or poaching. They don’t witness species disappearing and don’t understand what that means for the planet. This is why we bring the wild into the biggest cities in the world.” said Gillie.

“By sharing information about the threats to chimpanzees it is bringing their conversation into the public mind and encouraging them to act.”

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