Friendship by artists Gillie and Marc


Artemis and Athena

Wild Chimp Friendship


28 and 35

It’s not only us who can make friends- chimps do too! Chimps can often be seen eating together, grooming each other, cuddling, holding hands, but it wasn’t entirely understood to what extent they were actually friends. As it turns out, they are.

In a study done in the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya, chimps were observed to see how they interacted with each other, being paired as friends and non-friends. Once this was established, the researches gave them a task called “the trust game”. Here, each chimp got two choices, they can pull the “no-trust rope” which gives themselves a small non-desirable food (two banana pieces), or it can pull the “trust rope” which gives the other chimp they were paired with a much tastier and larger snack (three banana pieces and three apple slices). The important part was that if they pulled the “trust rope”, their pair has the option to pull it back, therefore giving them a big snack too. 

The study found a big connection with friendship in this task. They were far more likely to pull the “trust rope” if they were friends with their paired chimp than if they weren’t friends. To put it simply, they trust their friends more. It seems that they can form deep emotional bonds with their friends.

​Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while studying, the public will be able to meet individual animals. This will help them to realise that there are apes with unique personalities, thoughts and emotions. The loss of one individual is just as devastating as losing an individual human.

With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save the great apes.

​The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #ChimpsAreFamily to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.

To help protect the great apes you can adopt a chimp and help them via the WWF:

If you are interested in buying chimpanzee related art, you will also be directly helping real chimps in the wild with 30% going to WWF to continue their fantastic work for chimpanzee conservation: Click here to browse art >

Gillie and Marc’s highly coveted public artworks can be found worldwide including in New York, London, Singapore, Shanghai, and Sydney. They are Archibald Prize finalists, won the Chianciano Biennale in Italy, took out the Allens People’s Choice Award in 2016 and 2018 and Kids’ Choice Award in the 2016 Sculpture by the Sea and received the Bayside Arts Festival People's Choice Award in 2019 in Sydney.

The husband-and-wife duo are on a mission to make art for a better tomorrow. They are best known for their beloved characters, Rabbitwoman and Dogman, who tell the autobiographical tale of two opposites coming together as best friends and soul mates.

Gillie and Marc are also passionate eco-warriors and have dedicated their lives to protecting nature.

Gillie grew up with the wildlife in Zambia and Marc studied chimpanzees in Tanzania as a young man. Over time, the artists developed a deep appreciation for all living things and a desire to preserve the magnificence of the natural world. 

Through their art, Gillie and Marc aim to transform passive audiences into passionate advocates for animal conservation. Their mission is to use their work as a platform to continue spreading awareness about endangerment, which will ultimately lead to change and save species from extinction.

Their art has raised hundreds of thousands in donations for the many wildlife charities and causes they support through their project Love The Last.

Please follow @gillieandmarcart

The Bellew Family

Bronze sculpture of 2 chimps holding hands walking upright