Giraffe About Town Edinburgh: ‘beautiful’ skeletal design reveals majestic creature's inner beauty at Canongate Kirk

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Edinburgh Zoo’s Giraffe About Town project hit the city streets last week, bringing a rare sight to the Capital, with 40 colourful creatures displayed around the city.

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

The unique eight-foot sculptures – many of which have been designed and decorated by local artists and communities – is a partnership between Wild in Art and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and will run until August 29 to celebrate Edinburgh’s heritage and cultural diversity.

As well as bringing a new distinctive aesthetic to the city where residents and tourists alike can have a great day out spotting the striking mammals, the artistic initiative also aims to help people regain their love for the city as we emerge out of the pandemic.

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Lena Kibbler's sculpture is designed to showcase a giraffe's inner beauty. Bona Lisa can be found at Canongate Kirk.Lena Kibbler's sculpture is designed to showcase a giraffe's inner beauty. Bona Lisa can be found at Canongate Kirk.
Lena Kibbler's sculpture is designed to showcase a giraffe's inner beauty. Bona Lisa can be found at Canongate Kirk.

David Field, RZSS chief executive, said: “Following a wonderful welcome for our real-life giraffes in their new hilltop home at Edinburgh Zoo last May, we now want to share these majestic giants with the city of Edinburgh and visitors from around the UK and the world, through a stunning, art trail with something for everyone.

“Giraffe About Town will help local people and tourists fall in love with Scotland’s capital all over again by encouraging them to get out about town and explore these beautiful sculptures, while at the same time supporting the recovery of our wildlife conservation charity.”

Mr Field added: “The trail is one way we can say thank you and bring a feelgood factor back to Edinburgh with something truly special. It has also been a really exciting opportunity for businesses, organisations, artists, schools and whole communities to get involved.”

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Edinburgh-wide Giraffe about Town art trail hits the streets

Following a five-month closure of Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park, the charity lost over £1.5 million owing to Covid-19 restrictions.

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The help with recovery efforts, the project will culminate in a farewell weekend in September at Edinburgh Zoo where the delightful giraffes will be auctioned off to raise much needed funds wildlife conservation.

For the next month we will introduce you these impressive creatures, their story and where you can spot them.

Today, we feature Bona Lisa, which can be found at Canongate Kirk.

Designed by Dundee based artist, Lena Kibbler, her design illustrates an interior view of a giraffe to highlight the inner beauty of the stunning animal.

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Inspired by real giraffes, who have a large heart to pump blood throughout their tall body, this sculpture’s background includes lots of little hearts – so make sure to look a little closer and see if you can spot the purple one, which is included to represent love, support and close bonds.

Sponsored by Mitie, the design also features bright acacia leaves, which make up a giraffes’ diet and a solid black background, which represents power and elegance.

In the wild, giraffes serve as high pollinators, so flowers are included throughout the design in homage to this little-known fact.

Lena has lived and worked in Dundee and Angus since 1976. She attended Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art specialising in textile design.

Now a retired art teacher, Lena has the time and opportunity to use her design roots to inspire and enhance her work which is created in mixed media.

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