Extended through Summer, 2018 – This amazing exhibition, created by The Ark Collective in Nairobi, Kenya, features 24 beautiful sculptures hand-crafted specifically for McKee.
Nestled amongst the towering palm trees is a 16 ft. giraffe foraging silently on the leaves high above in the jungle canopy. Two playful and mischievous young elephants prove that big hearts come in small packages, while the matriarch elephant is nearby watching them closely.
Elsewhere in the Garden, a 5 ½ ft. gorilla crouches in the underbrush pondering her surroundings as she watches her human companions pass by her hiding place along the Main Jungle Trail. Perhaps she’s looking out for the charging rhinoceros preparing to rush past. This is one animal not to be tangled with – sculpted at 7 ft. tall and 13 ft. long, he is fierce with his detailed armor and remarkable horn.
Meanwhile, a magnificent hippopotamus, sculpted life size at 5 ft. tall and 9 ft. long, basks beside a pond. But don’t get too close! There’s a lot of power behind those kind eyes… Other animal friends hiding along the Garden pathways are a lion and lioness, zebra, crocodiles, owls, peacocks, cranes and an eagle preparing to spread his wings and fly.
Using reclaimed materials discarded from the car industry and other sources, a group of 19 African artists, ranging in age from 22 to 42 years old, created this collection for McKee. Head artist Moses Ochieng is committed to training young artists and giving them a lifelong creative skill. The artists are recruited from disadvantaged, impoverished backgrounds, providing them with employment and apprenticeships to empower them to be self-sustaining, productive members of their communities. As paid apprentices, these young artists are taught valuable skills such as design, metal cutting, welding, painting and molding. Most of the artists come from the Luo community and are known for their metal works, while a few are from the Kamba community known for their carving skills.
The Ark Collective is represented by Wildlife Garden Creations, located in Nairobi, Kenya.
Joseph Kasyoki, Paul Lema, George Musyoka, Collins Ochieng, Joseph Ochieng, Kennedy Ochieng, Moses Ochieng, Joseph Odhiambo, Steph Oduor, Joseph Okan, William Onyango, Caleb Onyango, Dennis Omondi, William Omondi, Julius, Omondi, Frederick Otieno, Vinvent Otieno and Erick Otieno.
Although many of the artists have the same last name, only two in the team are actually brothers, Collins Ochieng and William Omondi. The reason the names are reoccurring is because in the Luo tribe, they are named after the seasons and time of birth.