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A Towering Chimpanzee Sculpture Has Made Its Home Beside Hamer Hall

The likeness of Jane Goodall's primate friend David Greybeard has landed in Melbourne on the first stop of a global tour.
By Libby Curran
December 03, 2020
By Libby Curran
December 03, 2020

The streets of Melbourne might be feeling a little unfamiliar after months of being cooped up in your house. Especially if you happen to swing past the Arts Centre and glimpse the giant ape that now sits overlooking the Yarra. No, you're not losing the plot — the monumental primate is actually a sculpture of iconic chimpanzee David Greybeard, created by renowned Aussie artist Lisa Roet.

At an impressive nine-metres tall, the work will make its home here on the side of Hamer Hall for the next 20 days, in honour of the 60-year anniversary of Dr Jane Goodall's ground-breaking research expedition in Tanzania, and the famous chimp she befriended and studied whilst there. Towering above the river with one hand outstretched to passersby, it's designed to encourage a deeper consideration of nature and habitat conservation, as well as an appreciation for our closest living animal relative.

A QR code on the work takes visitors to a website where they can head on a 3D tour of Tanzania's Gombe National Park.

John Gollings

David Greybeard was crafted over the last eight months in Williamstown, brought to life by Airena's Felipe Reynolds and a team of creatives, made using a durable, but lightweight metallic thread material. After its Melbourne visit wraps up on December 22, it'll head off on an international tour, stopping at six countries across four continents. And, in an extra nod for sustainability and the environment, the entire sculpture's set to be repurposed at the end of its lifespan.

Over the past 30 years, Roet has become known for her large-scale works exploring environmental issues and campaigning for conservation awareness.

You can see David Greybeard on the side of Hamer Hall at 100 St Kilda Road, Southbank, until Tuesday, December 22.

Images: John Gollings

Published on December 03, 2020 by Libby Curran
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