Gillie and Marc bring King Nyani to Bella Abzug Park in Hudson Yards




Gillie and Marc with King Nyani

To raise awareness and funds for the critically endangered gorilla species, public artists Gillie and Marc  have created a massive sculpture of the animal that will be unveiled later this month in Hudson Yards’ Bella Abzug Park. Titled King Nyani, Swahili for gorilla, it’s the world’s largest bronze gorilla sculpture.

Rendering of King Nyani courtesy Gillie and Marc

Gillie and Marc have created this monumental sculpture entitled King Nyani. Nyani is ‘gorilla’ translated in Swahili. While traveling in Uganda, Africa, they became entranced by a silverback. The kindness, compassion and empathy he showed for his family made Gillie and Marc want to share the gentle side of this special creature with the world – a side that is often overlooked. Inspired by the iconic story of King Kong, the artists decided to give New York a different slant on the story. Now New York can fall in love rather than cower in fear as they see his true nature, while becoming the new champions for gorillas and their conservation.

This installation is the largest bronze gorilla sculpture on the planet at over 4,700 pounds and measuring approximately 8-feet by 22-feet by 7-feet, and gives an interactive experience unlike any other. With his hand large enough to hold one or two people, the public can get up close and personal with this gentle giant where they will undoubtedly fall in love with him. In the movie, Kong picks up Ann in his hand to protect her. Now all of New York is invited to sit in his hand where it’s our turn to protect him.

Rendering of King Nyani via Gillie and Marc
But due to illegal poaching, war and deforestation, there are only about 1,000 mountain gorillas and fewer than 3,800 eastern lowland gorillas left in the wild. “We couldn’t sit back and do nothing when these amazing creatures that are genetically so similar to us are in danger,” said Marc.

King Nyani is the artists’ interpretation of this magnificent animal, and is intended to represent all gorillas, including mountain and lowland gorillas. He is part of the broader ‘Love The Last’ project – a social movement driven by public art to raise awareness, funds and support for endangered animals across the world, and to encourage people to take action before we lose these animals forever.

Through a partnership with the Hudson Yards-Hell’s Kitchen Alliance, the sculpture will be on display in Bella Abzug Park as of August 24, 2020 and will remain on view for 11 months.