Did you watch it on Facebook live? Did you have messages wining back and forth with ‘£73k!!!’ in them last week?! Hundreds of people were glued to their social media, watching the drama unfold as phone bidders and a room full of Jersey’s altruistic animal-lovers got merry and bid on the magical band of Durrell’s inanimate art covered gorillas, featuring incredible unique designs from artist local and international.
44 Go Wild Gorillas sculptures in total went under the hammer and raised an incredible £1,146,500, which will go towards the build of a brand new, state-of-the-art indoor enclosure for Jersey Zoo’s beloved gorilla family.
A total of 40 silverback sculptures, three young gorilla sculptures and one mystery silverback were auctioned off, kickstarting the fundraising for the £5million gorilla house. We’re not sure if anyone bidding on the smaller ones actually realised that they were smaller either as, by that point, several of the audience had definitely had a drink or two and it was clear everyone was very much caught up in the excitement as bidding went up and up. And up.
TV celebrity, charity auctioneer and antiques expert Charles Hanson kept the crowd hooked throughout the entire evening with some exciting bidding wars. If you’re thinking of auctioning anything, he’s definitely the man.
Dr Lesley Dickie, Chief Executive of Durrell, said, “The Grand Gorilla Auction was an absolutely incredible evening that far exceeded our expectations. With a fantastic first bid of £20,000 setting the tone for the night, there was certainly a buzz in the room and we are overwhelmed by the generosity of our amazing bidders. I’d like to thank the hugely talented artists who designed the gorillas, our dedicated sponsors, all the schools and community groups, and the Go Wild Gorillas team from Durrell that helped to bring this sculpture trail to life. It has been wonderful to see the entire island get behind this exciting project and enjoy a glorious summer of gorillas!”
Popular silverback ‘The Space Between Us’ by local artist Andy Coutanche, aka Jersey Sandman, raised the roof when it was sold for a record breaking £72,000, the highest figure a sculpture from a Wild in Art trail has ever sold for. The second highest bid of the night was on Cliff Wright’s ‘What, On Earth…?’ gorilla, which sold for an amazing £62,000.
Charlie Langhorne, Co-founder and Managing Director of Wild in Art, said, “It was a phenomenal auction to conclude an extraordinary art trail. A massive thank you to the talented artists, without whom this would not have been possible. And of course, our auctioneer, Charles Hanson for his endless energy and charisma. Finally, a heartfelt congratulations to the team at Durrell for all their hard work and professionalism. We’ve loved every minute of our adventure together bringing Go Wild Gorillas to life and supporting their important conservation work.”
For their support at the Grand Gorilla Auction, Durrell would like to thanks The Royal Yacht, Delta Events, auctioneer Charles Hanson, Bidpath auction software, Presenting Partner Quilter Cheviot, Wild in Art, and Durrell staff and volunteers.
The overall success of the Go Wild Gorillas project would not have been achievable without the hard work and dedication of so many people. Special thanks to Wild in Art for their support and guidance throughout the whole project, and Quilter Cheviot for having faith in the project from the very beginning and signing on as Presenting Partner.
Tim Childe, Managing Director of Quilter Cheviot, said, “Go Wild Gorillas was a great initiative to get people from across Jersey involved in Durrell’s work. This art trail was all about making people smile and engaging them with the project, and it has done just that and more. I hope it will inspire people to get into conservation and continue raising funds for a very worthy cause. The project fits in with our own values; creating a legacy is very important to us, whether that’s natural wealth in the form of protecting our environment, or sustaining the prosperity of our clients across generations.”