Regular readers of VFTD will know our August edition typically takes a break from commentary around financial markets and politics, freeing us up to think about something different. For those connected to the UK, this self-imposed pause feels more relevant than ever – we all need to recharge our batteries, ahead of what looks likely to be an eventful few weeks leading up to 31 October. That’s enough about the dreaded elephant in the room… we want to talk about gorillas.
In December 2018 we announced our sponsorship of the Go Wild Gorillas campaign (www.gowildgorillas.org) run by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (aka Durrell). Taking Jersey by storm, it is a celebration of Durrell’s 60th anniversary. A public art trail, organised in partnership with Wild in Art, sees 40 brightly coloured, artist imagined, life-size gorilla sculptures, placed across the island from 27th July to 14th October 2019. Go Wild Gorillas leads people on a trail of discovery, not only to see the gorillas themselves, but the landscape in which they are placed.
Our gorilla – Día de la Extinción – was painted by the artist Tim Sutcliffe. Tim lives in Bristol with his family, working as a senior art director and designer for an advertising agency, as well as being a freelance illustrator in his spare time. Whilst he doesn’t have a prior connection to Jersey or Durrell, he has been involved in previous creations for Wild in Art, as well as the Shaun the Sheep and Gromit trails in Bristol, all of which raised significant money for worthy charities. Tim really enjoys the opportunity these projects offer to use paints and real materials, rather than computer based art.
The theme is inspired by Día de los Muertos, The Mexican Day of the Dead. The design features the classic skeletal and floral decorations, as well as a traditional mariachi outfit. Striking and colourful, the design also highlights the threat to gorillas in the wild and the potential destruction of their species.
This large scale community project is bringing together art and conservation to help raise funds for Durrell, in particular it marks the launch of their fundraising efforts to build a state of the art new gorilla house at Jersey Zoo. Building on the experience of Durrell’s expert staff and zoo colleagues, the new gorilla home will incorporate design features from modern gorilla enclosures at zoos around the world. Durrell estimate the project will cost approximately £4 million and will include: natural composting ‘bio-floors, translucent ceiling panels to flood in light and an additional outside area and training dens, plus a stunning visitor interpretation area with viewing platforms.
Go Wild Gorillas will also play an important role in Durrell’s new strategy by encouraging more people to get outdoors and reconnect with nature #rewildourworld.
Not everything that counts can be counted
To remind our readers, ethics and values – the intangibles that count – are at the core of everything Affinity does. We were the first Jersey firm to become a UN Global Compact participant and our gorilla sponsorship is consistent with Affinity’s commitment to sustainability. To us, this means making economic prosperity long lasting, more socially inclusive and less dependent on the exploitation of finite resources and the natural environment.
Our involvement with Go Wild Gorillas is part of a broader relationship with Durrell, which includes donating a percentage of management fees from our sustainable investment strategy.
Gorillas, conservation, sustainability and relationships – Affinity #deadgood.
Julia Warrander and Russell Waite
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (www.durrell.org)
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is an international charity working to save species from extinction. Headquartered at Jersey Zoo in the Channel Islands, Durrell focuses on the most threatened species in the most threatened places.
Established by author and conservationist, Gerald Durrell, in 1959, Durrell’s overall aim is for more diverse, beautiful and resilient natural landscapes in which species can thrive and people can enjoy a deeper connection with nature. Their approach concentrates on the rewilding of animals, the rewilding of ecosystems and the rewilding of people.
Wild in Art (wildinart.co.uk)
Wild in Art is a leading producer of spectacular, mass-appeal public art events that connect businesses, artists and communities through the power of creativity and innovation.
Since 2008 Wild in Art has animated cities across the world including Manchester, Sydney, Auckland, Cape Town and São Paulo and created trails for the London 2012 Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Historic Royal Palaces and Penguin Random House. Wild in Art events have:
- Enabled over £12m to be raised for charitable causes
- Injected £1.8m into local creative communities
- Engaged over 550,000 young people in learning programmes
- Helped millions of people of all ages to experience art in non-traditional settings
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