MEETING KING NYANI

ABOUT THE ANIMAL:
Gorillas are one of our closest relatives sharing 98% of our DNA. They share many of the same behaviours as humans such as laughter and sadness. But there may be only 1000 mountain gorilla left in the wild and fewer than 3800 eastern lowland gorillas. We are the reason. Illegal poaching, war and deforestation are making it harder and harder for this beautiful animal to survive. But if we can tear down their homes, we can also build them back up.

All gorillas are critically endangered and desperately need help. But with an amazing amount of dedication and love, the mountain gorilla is the only species of ape whose numbers are increasing, changing their classification from critically endangered to endangered thanks to the intense conservation work undertaken by organisations such as WWF, an amazing success story.

ABOUT THE PROJECT:
We all know the story of King Kong, the gargantuan gorilla who snatches the beautiful woman and carries her up the empire state building with terrifying roars. We all know this version of terror and aggression, but so few of us know the truth behind the real-life gorilla, and this is a problem.

Now, the largest bronze gorilla statue in the world is making its way to NYC, and this time the people of New York will get a second chance to save him and all of the endangered gorillas of the world, changing the narrative and becoming the champions of all gorillas.

Inspired by the film, Gillie and Marc Schattner the world-renowned public artists are working alongside the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund to bring another version of King Kong’s story to the streets of New York. With the creation of a monumental bronze public sculpture entitled King Nyani, Swahili for gorilla, the artists are bringing the gigantic gorilla back to the city, but this time with love.

Gillie and Marc have been called the greatest creators of public art in New York’s history by the New York Times. They have dedicated their lives to saving endangered species through their love of public art, bringing the hard facts about conservation and, most importantly, the love of these animals into the thoughts and hearts of the public. 

In a trip to Uganda, the artists were able to see a family of mountain gorillas in the wild and were moved to tears at the loving family unit. Their sculpture is based on the head of the family, a dominant silverback gorilla. The artists were blown away by the level of empathy and kindness he had, a very different image of the scary gorilla that is so often portrayed in media.

“It was beautiful watching the silverback interacting with his family. He was so gentle and loving and clearly cared deeply for his family”, Marc recalls.

“We knew we had to let the world know about this loving and gentle side of gorillas. They are often so misunderstood and thought of as scary and dangerous animals. But if they were able to see the silverback, maybe they wouldn’t be so scared”, remarks Gillie.

Gorillas are one of our closest relatives sharing 98% of our DNA. They share many of the same behaviours as humans such as laughter and sadness. But there may be only 1000 mountain gorilla left in the wild and fewer than 3800 eastern lowland gorilla. Humans are the reason why. Illegal poaching, war and deforestation are making it harder and harder for this beautiful animal to survive.

“We couldn’t sit back and do nothing when these amazing creatures that are genetically so similar to us are in danger”, said Marc. All gorillas are critically endangered and desperately need help. Now NYC will become the city to save them. King Nyani is bringing the call for all New Yorkers to save the new King Kong.

King Nyani is the largest bronze gorilla sculpture in the world and gives an interactive experience unlike any other. With his hand large enough to fit 2-3 people, the public can get up close and personal with this gentle giant and fall in love with him. In the movie, Kong grabs the woman in his hand to possess her. Now all of NY is invited to sit in his hand and be a true friend. “We wanted to create a sculpture where the public could really get close to the silverback, both physically and emotionally. Being able to sit in his hand and look up to into his gentle face we hope they will fall in love and join the movement to save the gorillas” says Gillie.

King Nyani is the artist’s interpretation to represent all gorillas and is part of the broader ‘Love The Last’ project, a social movement driven by public art to raise awareness, funds and support for endangered animals across the world, encouraging people to take action before we lose these animals forever.

As partners of WWF, the installation will be using its platform to raise much-needed funds for the charity. An incredible organisation, they have managed to turn the numbers around, making the mountain gorilla one of the only wild ape populations to be increasing


EXHIBITION DATES:

New York City from 24 August 2020 for 9 months

EXHIBITION LOCATIONS:
Gillie and Marc are excited to announce that the location of ‘King Nyani’ has been officially APPROVED by Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance. The location will be inside the Bella Abzug Park NYC. Hudson Park and Boulevard is a greenway and boulevard in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan in New York City.

PARTNERS:
Tucan Travel: Tucan Travel are an adventure travel tour operator who has been taking avid adventurers around the world since 1987. They operate small group and Tailor-made tours in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.  The mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest hold a special place in their heart and all of their tours in Uganda include the Gorilla Trek permit to help educate customers on the importance of protecting these endangered species. Tucan Travel have offices in London, Sydney, Toronto and Peru. Click here for more > www.tucantravel.com

Mission Africa Safaris: Mission Africa Safaris helps put together amazing wildlife safaris in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and DR Congo. But it is not just about safaris. We want to partner with all who support the conservation of nature whenever an opportunity arises. Do you want to see the gorillas? Are you interested in spotting birds, the wildebeest migration, African mountains or a cultural experience with indigenous tribes (like the Batwa and Maasai)? Click here for more > https://www.silverbackgorillatours.com.

The Thomas Collective: Headquartered in NYC, The Thomas Collective is a creative agency that uses the science of motivation to build campaigns for consumer brands. Click here for more > https://www.ttccreative.com/

HOW TO HELP: The sculpture is aligned with the hashtag #LoveTheLast. Visitors will be asked to take a photo with the artwork and share it with the hashtag, jump-starting efforts to spread critical awareness. To help protect the gorillas you can give a donation to any of the many amazing foundations such as the WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/