African sculptures hidden throughout Brevard Zoo


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The metal sculpture of the hippo is near the entrance to the Brevard Zoo.

Austin Rushnell

Zoos are typically home to animals often associated with the African landscape, such as meerkats, giraffes and monkeys.

The Brevard Zoo not only features these exotic animals, but also new to the zoo are metal statues made by African artists.

There are 16 metal sculptures in various spots throughout the zoo.

“These sculptures were all made from recycled materials by a group of 19 young artists in Nairobi, Kenya,” Brevard Zoo officials said in an online presentation. “The artists, called Ark Collective, were recruited from disadvantaged, impoverished backgrounds and given the opportunity to learn valuable skills such as design, metal cutting and welding — all of which were used to create the sculptures now housed at the zoo.”

The sculptures at the Brevard Zoo are called Sculpture Safari and are found all over the zoo. Some are in hard-to-spot areas.

“These sculptures were at the Botanical Garden Center in Vero Beach, and they purchased the statues from (Ark Collective),” said Elliot Zirulnik, the communications manager at the Brevard Zoo. “When they were done exhibiting them, (the Brevard Zoo) purchased them with other zoos in Florida: the Jacksonville Zoo, the Naples Zoo and the West Palm Beach Zoo.”

The statues are not a permanent installation in the Brevard Zoo. By the fall of 2019, the statues will move on to the next zoo in Florida. When all of the zoos within the agreement have had a chance to display the sculptures, the sculptures will be split four ways between the group.

“I think the most popular one is the elephant family; elephants are really popular animals,” Zirulnik said. “There are two adults and two or three calves. People (also) like the giraffe. It’s the easiest one to find, but they’re all very (interesting).”

There is no map for finding the sculptures, so guests will have to be on the lookout for each of the 16 metal animals.

Also new to the Brevard Zoo is a bear, which is a 2-year-old, full-grown female.

For more information about the sculptures and about the Brevard Zoo, go to brevardzoo.org/special-events/sculpture-safari.

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