King Nyani

CURRENT LOCATION Edition no.1 - Sept 2021
Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W 31st St, Brookfield, IL 60513
Visit the sculpture, click for map >


CURRENT LOCATION Edition no.2 - Oct 2021
The Bruce Museum, 8400 W 31st St, Brookfield, IL 60513
Visit the sculpture, click for map >


CURRENT LOCATION Edition no.3 - Oct 2022
Taronga Zoo, Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088
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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.

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