A new exhibition of giant interactive works of art, all made from different forms of rubbish and waste, is set to open at Chester Zoo.
Love it for Longer, which runs at Chester Zoo from 11 June until mid-October, features eight huge installations created by six different artists, each formed from discarded plastic rubbish, old fabrics, unwanted technology, rainwater and even animal dung.
It’s being unveiled as the world-renowned zoo celebrates its 90th anniversary as a leading wildlife charity.
Zoo conservationists and the artists behind the sculptures say it’s the first time an exhibition of this scale, which encourages audiences to make more sustainable choices, has been staged in the UK.
Love it for Longer will champion sustainability across all facets of day-to-day life and aims to show how the world can become a waste-free zone, if people work together.
It’s hoped that the art – which includes includes a 20-foot-long chameleon made from recycled shampoo bottles, a sculpture that turns rainwater into music and a maze created from unwanted fabric – will highlight how problematic waste streams are to the natural world and provoke conversations and inspire positive change.
Dom Strange, Director of Operations at Chester Zoo, said:
“It’s fair to say that Chester Zoo’s new exhibition is total, utter trash – quite literally! Love it for Longer is a sustainability spectacular and the first time these incredible installations, all made from different forms of rubbish and waste, have been seen together, anywhere on the planet.
“As a leading conservation charity we need to make a significant contribution to reducing waste and inspire others to do the same. So, we’ve now committed to working towards becoming a zero waste zoo by 2030. It’s by no means going to be easy and we’ve lots to learn ourselves, but our ambition is that in 10 years’ time we want to reuse, repurpose, recycle or compost as much of the materials that we use here at the zoo, to further protect the environment.
“What we very much want this bold, new exhibition to do is start a conversation about all of the things we throw away and inspire anyone who sees it to join the zoo on our journey to zero waste. I’m sure visitors to the exhibition will have loads of fantastic ideas that they can share both with us and others, which will make a massive difference here at the zoo and in people’s day-to-day lives at home.”
The artists involved with the display say they want to inspire people to change the way they think about the things they might usually dispose of.
Rowan Cannon and Sarah Bird, directors at award-winning outdoor arts organisation Wild Rumpus who are producing the event in partnership with Chester Zoo, said.
“We’re surrounded by rubbish and waste – it’s everywhere! Love it for Longer looks at sustainability across all facets of our day-to-day. Wild Rumpus want to change the world from the bottom up, from poo to plastics, food to fabric waste, energy to electronic devices. Working with some amazing artists and makers, zoo audiences are invited to join us on a transformational journey towards a more sustainable future. Love it for Longer audiences will be empowered to make more sustainable choices in their everyday lives in a fun and engaging way.”
The exhibition will build on plans outlined in Chester Zoo’s new ‘Conservation Masterplan’ – a 10-year promise to make a significant contribution to tackling the global extinction crisis, which launched in March. Part of the promise includes a path for the zoo to achieve carbon net zero and work towards zero waste in its operations by 2030, as well as ensure the procurement of deforestation free commodities in all of its supply chains. Already the zoo utilises products only containing sustainably grown palm oil and has led a movement to make Chester the world’s first Sustainable Palm Oil City.
Ahead of the exhibition opening, the zoo has also moved to remove all plastic drinks bottles from sale across all of its food and beverage outlets.
“The world is heading towards a biodiversity crisis and, for many species, it’s a case of now or never. We all have to act for our planet, and act quickly. That’s why one of the small immediate changes we’re making ahead of the exhibition opening, is to stop the sale of all plastic drinks bottles at the zoo. Bold actions like this do, of course, have a financial impact and, as a charity that relies almost entirely on income from visitors to carry out its work, lots of things have to be weighed up when making such a decision. However, we have to find ways to adapt, change and create demand for sustainable alternatives. There are bigger things at stake. This is the first of many moves we’ll be making on our sustainability journey.”
Love it for Longer is being created by Wild Rumpus, the social enterprise that has worked with Chester Zoo on its wintertime event, The Lanterns, since 2017.
Most of the materials used in the making of the exhibition are reused or recycled objects that would usually have been thrown away and, when it leaves the zoo in October, it will be installed elsewhere in the county to enable other people to see it.
Love it for Longer is free with normal zoo admission. For more on the exhibition, and to book zoo tickets, visit: www.chesterzoo.org/loveitforlonger