A silverback gorilla is coming to Exeter – by bus.

Stagecoach are supporting Paignton Zoo’s Great Gorillas Project by sponsoring a unique piece of three-dimensional public art - a life-size model gorilla.

The Stagecoach silverback is called Bananarilla – for obvious reasons – and is the creation of graffiti artist Miss*C, Cleo Heard. He will have his own little piece of jungle to live in thanks to local school-children.

Cleo has been working with St Peter's School, Exeter, to create a suitable backdrop for Bananarilla at the bus station. Children have been painting jungle leaves onto the walls where the gorilla will stand between August and October.

Cleo explained: “The banana has been one of the most iconic images in contemporary art and music. When asked why he used a banana and its meaning, Andy Warhol is said to have replied, “It doesn’t have a meaning – it’s a banana!”.”

Helen Scholes, Marketing Manager at Stagecoach South West, added "Working on this project has been fantastic fun and I wanted to see how else we could involve the local community. We already provide school bus services to St Peter's so they seemed the natural choice to help design his new home."

Kate Pritchard, Head of Art at St Peter's, said "I'm really excited about creating our very own piece of urban art - and I know our pupils are too!"

The Great Gorillas Project is celebrating the 90th birthday of the region’s largest and best-known zoo, Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. It is also raising funds for charity.

Life-size model gorillas are being sponsored by businesses and community groups, painted in original designs by specially-commissioned artists and displayed in public, creating a unique art trail around Exeter and the English Riviera.

Bananarilla is one of eleven Great Gorillas heading for Exeter. They will be on public display between 3rd August and 14th October. For further information go to:www.greatgorillas.org.uk.

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