Gorilla sculpture on display in Leeds for the first – and last – time.
A five and a half metre high statue of a gorilla is attracting attention in Leeds city centre.
The Nicholas Monro artwork is on display outside the Henry Moore Institute as part of the City Sculpture Projects 1972 exhibition. The impressive concrete primate will be discussed at talks at the gallery on 23rd November.
Curator Jon Wood feels that outside the gallery is the perfect place for the statue. “In the heart of the city, amongst the other sculptures from different eras it creates a very strong image,” said Jon.
“Monro wanted to create something disorientating, and here it’s hard for people to tell if it’s art or part of the fun fair. It’s certainly bringing visitors into the gallery.”
The public reaction so far has been very positive. Kenneth Cox, founder of the Leeds Surrealist group, declared it “brilliant”. “King Kong is one of my favourite films, although he doesn’t look much like him. Not hairy enough.” According to Wood, Monro had never seen the film.
The statue has had a tumultuous history, having been repainted in serval designs and at one point being the mascot of a used car dealership. Owner Lesley Maby is extremely protective of King Kong, having had him in her family for 40 years.
“I’ll never sell him” said Maby. “I’m very happy he’s on display in Leeds, but once he’s home he’ll be staying in the garden and won’t be moved again. I’m too fond of him.”
By Annika Jones and Sophie Okonkwo