Chimps Are Family



Current Exhibition (July 2024 - July 2025) 
Richmond Sculpture Trail, London UK

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Wild Chimp Laughter
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Wild Chimp Imitation
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Wild Chimp Nest Making
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Wild Chimp Conflict
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Wild Chimp Play
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Wild Chimp Foraging
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Wild Chimp Throwing
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Wild Chimp Bipedal Walking

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Wild Chimp Grief
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Past Exhibition (Jan 2023 - July 2024) 
Eagle Brewery Wharf, Riverside Walk, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1HY, United Kingdom

Past Exhibition
London Bridge City, London SE1 2DB, United Kingdom, - Jan 2022 - Jan 2023


About the Project
Gillie and Marc were lucky enough to meet the babies of three of the great ape species, chimps, orangutans and gorillas, in the wild and they were surprised how similar they really are to us. These sweet little babies were just as cheeky as human babies and were very attached to their mums. Gillie and Marc could see them grasp onto things, the same way that human babies do, testament to our evolutionary past. We also noticed that the hands of gorilla are very similar to human hands, a beautiful reminder that even physically, we are still from the same family.

About the Animal
The great apes - chimpanzee, orangutan, gorillas, and bonobos - are our closest relatives. We share 98% of our DNA with them so, unsurprisingly, we also share many of the same personality traits! They are a part of our family, and families look out for one another. We have to protect them before we lose one of our own!

Gorillas and chimps are also very intelligent and use tools just like we do. They show the same emotions like laughter and sadness, and use facial expressions, gestures and sounds to communicate, just like humans! They have both been taught basic human sign language showing they can think and express their basic needs in the same way humans can. Seeing the empathy and love that these beautiful apes expressed, moved Gillie and Marc to tears. It was one of the most magical moments of their lives to see how these family units loved and cared for one another, a moment that everyone in the world should experience for themselves. ​

To make the connection even deeper, chimps and humans are thought to share a common ancestor from 4-8 million years ago. That means we are definitely family, distant cousins! In the Malay language, orangutan means “person of the forest”. The Malay people have obviously seen this similarity with ourselves too!

The similarities between us are clear, we are family. Just as you would help your family through rough times, we must help the great apes escape the threat of extinction. Because that’s what families do for each other, we love each other and look out for one another. 

​About the Sculptures
The Chimps Are Moving! Richmond Ready To Welcome The Wild Sculpture That Wowed London Bridge and Kingston Upon Thames

10 chimpanzees from the hugely successful public art exhibition, ‘Chimps Are Family’, are off to Richmond, the next in line to welcome the adorable apes in this interactive sculpture for conservation. 

London Bridge opened the public exhibition and Kingston Upon Thames has played host since Jan 2023. The sculptures were met with huge excitement with thousands of people heading down to learn and play with the charismatic crew. Now it’s Richmond who will take up the care of 10 of the original 18 chimps from mid-July 2024.

“We were thrilled to see the reception from the public at London Bridge. Now we’re so excited to reach a whole new group of people in Richmond and spread the message of conservation even further,” shares Marc.

“While we were studying the chimps we were absolutely blown away by how similar they were to us! So many of their behaviours were just like ours and the relationships they have, especially between mother and child, was so heartwarming,” remarked Gillie.

These behaviours are what inspired their public sculpture, ‘Chimps Are Family’. Showcasing 10 different chimpanzee behaviours such as laughing, grief, and imitation, the public is given a unique glimpse into the life of a chimp and a greater understanding of our cousins.

“We really hope that this sculpture will help people to see the very real similarities between us and chimps. They laugh at funny things, get cross with one another, and have wonderful bonds of friendship. We hope that once people see how similar we really are they will be moved to protect them,” explains Marc.

‘Chimps Are Family’ is giving the people of London a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get up close and personal with our cousins, but also the opportunity to save them before it’s too late.

These sculptures are designed to be interactive. The public is encouraged to get as close as they want, touching their faces, examining their hands, and giving them a hug. This unique form of public conservation is here to inspire love and connection.

Each of the chimps will be displayed with a QR code where the public can learn all about the individual chimpanzee and find important information surrounding conservation. They will also have the option to donate funds to go directly to save chimpanzees.

The installation promotes the idea that it is possible to share the world we live in with chimps. It reflects the artists’ commitment to ensuring the survival of the species, with all donations going to WWF.

How to Help 
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while studying, the public will be able to meet individual animals. This will help them to realise that there are apes with unique personalities, thoughts and emotions. The loss of one individual is just as devastating as losing an individual human.

With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save the great apes.

The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #ChimpsAreFamily to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe. To help protect the great apes and their habitats you can give a donation to WWF-UK by visiting

If you are interested in buying chimpanzee related art, you will also be directly helping real chimps in the wild with 30% going to WWF to continue their fantastic work for chimpanzee conservation: Click here to browse art >


For lovers of primates & rhinos
London, UK

We're based here in the UK to ensure that we're working as hard as possible to make the greatest positive impact to our planet from your donations. In fact you can come visit us. Our UK headquarters - the Living Planet Centre in Woking -  has a visitor and education centre so you can pop in and say 'hi'.

We also have local offices in Edinburgh and Cardiff to make sure that we're able to make change happen at a local level - no matter where you are in the UK.

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Shop artworks that give back > Chimps are Family Collection  


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