'Gorilla warfare' in Bristol, UK as art collectors battle over pricey primates



2015-06-26 12:35:01

'Gorilla warfare' in Bristol, UK as art collectors battle over pricey primates

An auction of painted gorilla statues has raised $666,000 for charity in our hometown

We've been tripping over them for months here in Paul Fraser Collectibles' hometown of Bristol, UK.

The gorilla statues painted in a range of lively colour schemes by artists, celebrities and local groups, reminiscent of a number of decorated elephant sculptures that sold for 1.8m in London last year.

And at last night's (September 29) charity auction in the city, which raised 427,300, it was a gorilla in the guise of one of Bristol's adopted sons that attracted the most attention.

Gorisambard, fashioned to resemble Isambard Kingdom Brunel - the man behind Bristol's famous suspension bridge - sold for 23,000.

Gorisambard has stood proudly next to his suspension bridge for the last few months, and has been a highlight for many of the "Gorilla tourists", who have made it their job to track down every one of the 61 Wow! Gorillas scattered around the city.

Bristol gorilla One of 61 gorillas that went under the hammer in Bristol, UK

They were produced to celebrate Bristol Zoo's 175th anniversary, with proceeds from the auction going towards Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal and the zoo's gorilla conservation projects.

Auctioneer Andrew Morgan commented: "These wonderful gorillas have been a spectacular success and I was delighted and honoured to be asked to auction them.

"The lucky bidders who bought a Wow! Gorilla will not only be directly supporting two excellent charities, but will be acquiring a lasting and valuable work of art."

Other notable gorillas included a depiction of Elvis, which sold for 10,200, and a life-like work by up-and-coming local artist Arianne Wolodarsky, which achieved 11,500.

Who knows, savvy art collectors may have snapped up a unique artwork by a big name of the future?

Arty gorillas are not a new phenomenon to Bristol.

Earlier this year we reported how a much-loved Banksy gorilla stencil had been whitewashed by unsuspecting community centre employees in the city.

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