Every year, The Wild Animal Sanctuary is host to various donated works of art, but few works compare with the striking scrap-metal behemoths that now grace its grounds. Not only do these sculptures strike a visual chord with their life-size representations of iconic African animals like the giraffe, ostrich, lion and rhino, but they also are part of a striking backstory that’s rooted in Kenya.
Each sculpture first starts as a skeleton of small steel rods, which local Kenyan tribesmen weld together. Each artisan then collects huge quantities of unwanted scrap metal from their community, which they grind and beat into shape with hammers. This part of the process takes weeks, as each sculpture exhibits an incredible amount of detail, down to the feathers of the ostrich or hairs of the lion’s mane. Once the sculpture is shaped correctly, the artist scrapes away at the rust and corrosion before finally sealing the metal with a lacquer coat.
The sculptures will be on display at The Wild Animal Sanctuary’s new Welcome Center, where they’ll also be for sale. Proceeds will be split between the sanctuary and the artists, which will help both the majestic animals living in the Sanctuary and the communities in Kenya where the artists live.
Most of the sculptures are life-size, and offerings also include hippos, elephants, zebras and wildebeests. For more information about the sculptures, visit them in person or call the center at 303-536-0118.