Weighing in at more than 20kg, a glittering chocolate sculpture of one of Bristol Zoo’s most famous residents is set to turn heads when it goes on display later this month.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris checked out what will be a 1m tall sculpture of ‘Alfred the Gorilla’, which is still being made at Bedminster’s Zara’s Chocolates before it heads to the newly renamed Bristol Zoo Project later this month.
It is all part of an artwork by Luke Jerram called ‘Edible Histories’ celebrating Bristol’s inspiring culture and history funded by Mayor Norris’s West of England Mayoral Combined Authority.
Alfred, who was an animal celebrity in his day, and who is still remembered with affection by Bristolians young and old, was at Bristol Zoo Gardens from 1930 until his death in 1948. He is being sculpted in Fairtrade chocolate along with four other objects chosen to tell the story of the city.
Those items include a mini-chocolate version of the Concorde Alpha Foxtrot – the last of the iconic supersonic jets to be built and fly from Aerospace Bristol, and the largest chocolate button in history at Glenside Hospital Museum. They are all being wrapped in gold foil and displayed with the original pieces within the five much-loved attractions who have signed up to the chocolate arts project.
One more chocolate object will be announced later in the year.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “This chocolate object for me is all about the city’s relationship with animals and importance as a conservation leader, something Bristolians of all ages can feel rightly proud about. I’m delighted to celebrate this by showing off the new Chocolate Alfred, one of Bristol’s most enduring and important mascots, and one that speaks to that much wider conversation about how we protect wildlife. And I’m proud this all part of a brilliant project celebrating the fascinating history around some of the objects and places that define this most extraordinary city told through chocolate – everyone’s favourite sweet substance.”
Artist Luke Jerram said: “The Chocolate Gorilla sculpture represents Bristol’s history of work with conservation and natural history. The city is home to dozens of charities, institutions and companies aiming to protect our planet’s wildlife and habitats. It’s something we should all be proud of and support.”
Justin Morris, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “Chocolate Alfred showcases our work in Equatorial Guinea, where we protect western lowland gorillas in the wild. He also points to the future. At Bristol Zoo Project, we will create a Central African Forest habitat which will home, among other animals, our existing troop of western lowland gorillas. Construction on the new zoo starts next year, where around 80 percent of animals, like the gorillas, will be linked to our conservation work around the world. We can’t wait for everyone to be able to see Bristol’s real gorillas again!”
The Chocolate Alfred will arrive at Bristol Zoo Project will be on display through to October. The artwork, along with the other four objects, will then be brought together for the first time as part of a free public event in Bristol city centre whereby they will be broken up and distributed to the general public, and local foodbanks. Details about this public event will be announced soon.