Stand Tall is a public art event that has put 30 2.5m high giraffes around Colchester and the surrounding area to mark the 50th birthday of Colchester Zoo. Each giraffe has a bar code to can scan and if you find all 30 you will be entered into a competition to win a trip to Tanzania and Kenya. Unfortunately I don’t have an i-phone, but I still wanted to take part so for the last couple of weeks I’ve been following the Stand Tall trail, taking photos of each giraffe as I go.
Gironimo was the first giraffe I found as he is based at my University, and inspired by work carried out in my department (biological sciences) that focuses on conservation of the planet – from work on ocean acidification to sustainable agriculture and crop productivity. In fact, I can see links to many of the projects my friends in the department are involved with. Gironimos design incorporates images from the bio-imaging facility and carries a powerful message about the impact of Western civilization on the planet. The name Gironimo comes from the initial letters of ‘giraffe’ and ‘Geromino’; leader of the Apaches, who preserved harmony with their natural surroundings.
I see Union Giraffe a lot, in fact every time I go training or to visit my family, as he is based at the Mini Cooper show room as you enter / leave Colchester. Union Giraffe is painted in the style of the Union Jack and represents the United Kingdoms love of animals. He is a celebration of the many organizations, charities and people of the UK who have worked to further the conservation of endangered species. This photo was taken quite late in the evening, as I was driving back from a trip to Ipswich.
This is Jamboree, who is based at McDonalds. Jamborees colourful design is inspired by the patterns and colours of Dogon rituals; agricultural people of Mali known for their myths and rituals representing a complex cosmology.
Jet Set Giraffe
Jet Set Giraffe is the biggest of them all, standing at a massive 7.5m! He’s traveled all the way from Monaco and is now based at Colchester Zoos Tugela BBQ Terrace.
Sarasvati is based in Sainsbury’s and named after the Hindu Goddess of the arts. Sarasvati is inspired by Indian decoration, incorporating fragments of crockery, jewels, mirror and coins, and the stars are based on those from the nursery rhyme “Twinkle, twinkle little star”, which was written in Colchester.
Five Winks is based at the Holiday Inn on Abbotts Lane, on the outskirts of Colchester. His design is inspired by the fact that giraffes can rest whilst standing up. The Zs imply that the giraffe is wrapped up in sleep in the standing position.
I was also very excited to discover that Five Winks has a twitter account!
Stan is based at Colchester North Station and is the official mascot of the Stand Tall event. He features Colchester Zoos campaign logo (on the other side!), and the splashes of bright colour symbolize the creativity of the artists and groups who have taken part in Stand Tall to celebrate the Zoos 50th birthday and, ultimately, raise money for the Zoos charity, Action for the Wild.
Dot is based in Colchester town and has been inspired by the work of the Aboriginal people of Australia. The artist, Martin Band, felt that the distinct markings of a giraffe lent themselves well to a graphic representation in Aboriginal style.
Tuiste is also in Colchester’s town center, and is based on Colchester themed imagery as well as the animals from Colchester Zoo.
Womb with a view
I must admit that this design freaked me out a little. Womb with a view was designed by animal portrait artist Alison Burchert and is designed to portray the giraffe as a ‘living, breathing, life producing mammal’. Womb with a view is in Colchester’s town center.
Twinkle is outside Colchester’s Natural History Museum and is based on the nursery rhyme ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, which was originally written as a poem called ‘The Star’ by Jane Taylor in Colchester in 1806. Words from the nursery rhyme are written in silver on the other side; I couldn’t get all of Twinkle in from that angle because of the railing!
Nursery Rhyme is outside Castle Park and represents the fact that three of the best known English nursery rhymes were written in Colchester. ‘Humpty Dumpty’ sits under ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’s and watches ‘Old King Cole’ and his fiddlers three.
Animal Mineral is located inside Castle Park and is inspired by Darwin’s theory of evolution and our role as humans in protecting vulnerable species. Animal mineral is covered by a reflective metal (a mineral) to symbolize that animals evolve to ‘reflect’ their survival needs and that humans are responsible for the longevity of animals who are affected by our excavation of minerals from the environment.
Stick your neck out
Stick your neck out is at Firstsite in Colchester and has been decorated using paints, usually restricted for custom vehicles, to magnify the individual pattern of giraffe camouflage.
Maassai Giraffe is in Colchester’s High Street and is based on the craft traditions of the Maasai people of Africa. The artist (Helen Rose Smith) has included elements of fused glass in the necklace decorations to incorporate elements of her own craft in the sculpture.
Having a Giraffe
Having a Giraffe is also based in Colchester’s High Street and is inspired by the Southern phrase ‘You’re having a giraffe’. Need I say anymore?!
African Patchwork was designed based on African textile designs and is located in Marks and Spencer on Colchester’s High Street.
Tuxedo G Raffee
Tuxedo G Raffee loves to dance and is based in Colchester’s High Street. He’s very smartly dressed and has even been borrowed for a wedding!
Jungle Jenny took us ages to find, but after looking around the departments of Williams and Griffin twice we eventually found her in the cafe on the top floor. The artist’s (Jenny Leonard) aim was to incorporate as many animals in the jungle design as possible.
Precious is located at the top of Colchester’s High Street and is designed to express the precious quality of giraffes; Precious is painted in gold, in set with cut stones of jet or amethyst and the eyes are highlighted with diamond effects.
Seahorse is on the outskirts of Colchester’s town center and is painted to look like…well…a seahorse – one of the seaworld’s most beautiful and vulnerable species. Unfortunately Seahorse had been damaged when we went to see him and was then about to be taken to the ‘vets’ by the staff of Colchester Zoo. They did, however, let me get this photo before they took him away, and I have since seen that he is back in his place all healthy and well 😀
Love Hearts is by the bus stops in Osbourne Street as was designed to be colourful and psychedelic.
Gofaster-raffe is on the outskirts of Colchester’s town center and was designed by the Colchester MINI Cooper body shop team. The colour of Gofaster-raffe was inspired by the fastest mini in town – the John Cooper Works MINI.
Big Catrina is at the Weston Business centre and is covered in paintings of big cats. The artist (Alison Burchert) wanted the design to reflect that most of her subjects are big cats, and highlight that these wild cats are endangered species.
African waterfall is designed based on the magnificence of an African waterfall, and is based at CC Designer Bathrooms. He has also been hooked up to function as a shower…how cool is that?!
A few of the giraffes have been located outside of Colchester and Godric is one of them, based at Promenade Park in Maldon. His design is inspired by the statue of Byrhnoth on Maldon’s Promenade. The story goes:
“In 991 A.D, the Vikings, led by King Olaf Tryggvason, launched a coastal invasion of Anglo-Saxon England. Their target was the town of Maldon, which was protected by Lord Byrhtnoth, an old enemy of the raiding Northmen. When the Vikings finally attack, Byrhtnoth makes a critical tactical error based on pride and arrogance, leading to his death and Maldon’s occupation. Byrhtnoth’s most loyal retainer, Godric, flees in the heat of battle so he can survive and claim vengeance even though this means that he breaks an oath he has made to die at the side of Byrhtnoth.”
Polka-Dotty represents the ever-changing world of fashion. She stands bold at Freeport Braintree, expressing her individuality by changing her camouflage from white to purple, and from purple to white.
It took two attempts for us to find Giraff-oovy Baby! The first time we went to Chelmsford he had been taken to the ‘vet’ 😦 However, we went back the following week and saw that he had returned 😀 Giraff-oovy Baby is inspired by the flower-power era of the 60s, which happens to be the same decade that Colchester Zoo opened its gates for the first time! Here is a picture of Giraff-oovy Baby with his new friend, Roxy the dog.
I was really excited about finding Nextra-terrestrial, mainly as I have been following her blog and twitter account. Nextra-terrestrial has travelled all the way from Giraffe World in the Camelopardalis constellation to Clacton Factory Outlet to celebrate Colchester Zoos 50th birthday. Everything in Giraffe world is ‘giraffified’, from tall houses to long-necked toothbrushes. Did you know that, when no humans are around, the giraffes painted on Nextra-terrestrial come to life, emerging from the paint to have ‘nexciting’ adventures?
Cam was the last giraffe I found, surprising given that I originally come from Ipswich! He is located at Issacs on the Quay and is designed based on Roman history coupled with conservation of the future, of course with animals playing a big part in the design!