Chimps Are Family Exhibition by L Alderson, Esher College

Published Feb 2023

This month, Kingston Upon Thames welcomes the highly successful public art exhibition- “Chimps Are Family” designed by Gillie and Marc.Through a partnership with Kingston First (our town’s team who work to ensure Kingston is a thriving and attractive environment), this exhibit will be in place for the next 6 months.

Throughout the town, are situated 10 interactive chimpanzees which display human-like behaviours, such as laughter, grief and play to provide the public with an insight of these animals to which we are so closely related. People are encouraged to touch the sculptures and look closely to understand the artists’ aim of spreading love and connection.

Personally, my favourite out of the sculptures is communication located on Clarence Street. This demonstrates that while chimpanzees may not communicate verbally in the same way as us, they’re still vocal, and use plenty of facial expressions to convey their messages. I believe that this sculpture in particular draws a parallel with humans and chimpanzees and our similar means of communication in its simplest form.

Along side each chimp, a QR code is provided to reveal information about the vital work needed to protect these animals. The chimpanzee is our closest living relative, sharing around 98% of human DNA, however we still remain to be the biggest threat to chimpanzee survival. Their existence is under threat as we continue to expand our habitats to destroy theirs. It is expected that 80% of chimpanzees will face a population decline of 80% over the next 30 years. Therefore, Gillie and Marc are providing a spotlight onto chimpanzees and giving the public the chance to save our cousins before it’s too late.

Don’t miss out on this exhibit, head into Kingston Upon Thames, and see what you can find!