Chris Ofili painting donated to elephants sells for $105,000
Wednesday 27 February 2002
A painting by Turner Prize winning artist Chris Ofili, that he donated to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), has been auctioned to raise money for the elephants at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, and sold for $105,000 (£73,730)
The painting was auctioned at New York's prestigious contemporary art fair, The Armory, and was bought by a private American collector.
The sale has exceeded expectations, since it was hoped that the painting would sell for over £40,000. All the proceeds of the sale will go towards the elephants at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, which include the three elephants that were moved from London Zoo at the end of last year.
For the past ten years the elephants at London Zoo, Mya, Layang Layang and Dilberta, provided Chris Ofili with dung for his internationally acclaimed paintings. This new work called 'Triple Couple' is 6ft x 4 feet in size, and is part of a current body of work. The painting was sold by the Victoria Miro Gallery, on behalf of ZSL, by silent auction at the Armory fair between the 21st-25th February 2002.
Chris West, Zoological Director at ZSL said, "This is tremendous news! We're thrilled the painting has sold so well and we are enormously grateful to Chris Ofili and his generosity. We know Chris Ofili wanted to offer the elephants
something in return and the money from the sale will go directly towards the elephants and further developments in the new elephant facilities at Whipsnade. This will include landscaping and enhancing the paddock for the adults and future calves, but money will not all be spent at once. This way, money can be spent on the elephants each year, and can also provide an annual grant for the keeping staff to go on training courses and work abroad."
Chris Ofili commented "I am absolutely delighted that the painting has raised so much for the elephants. I couldn't create my paintings without them, so it's extremely rewarding to be able to offer them something to say thanks after all these years. I recently visited the elephants in their new home at Whipsnade and the new facilities are fantastic. I also had the pleasure of meeting the keeping staff and discussing what the money from the sale of the painting can go towards. It is fantastic to have contributed towards these exciting new developments.
ZSL currently has the largest breeding herd of Asian elephants in the UK at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park and the money provided from the sale of the painting will benefit them and help in the conservation of this beautiful and threatened species.
- For further information please contact the Public Relations Office of the Zoological Society of London*:
Debbie Curtis/Peter Beatty/Joe Laing
Tel: 020 7449 6363/6361/6236
Mobile: 07889 043 843
Fax: 020 7449 6362
Notes to Editors:
- London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park are an integral part of the Zoological Society of London, a worldwide conservation, scientific and educational charity. Charity Number 208728.
- Elephant dung is one of several materials used by the artist Chris Ofili in his painting including acrylic paint, paper collage, glitter and map pins on canvas. The dung balls are dried, lacquered and sometimes decorated with map pins. They are used as supports on which the paintings rest and are often applied to the surface of the canvas.
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