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Sat December 09 2023

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Giant golden monkey scales Scottish art gallery

5 Nov 20 A 45-foot-tall golden monkey sculpture has been installed on the exterior of Inverleith House in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RGBE).

Australian ecological artist Lisa Roet’s inflatable Golden Monkey installations have previously scaled skyscrapers in Beijing and Hong Kong.

The sculpture has been installed as part of Inverleith House’s transformation into a three-year programme of visual art, drawing attention to the global climate crisis.

The sculpture shows one of five species of golden snub-nosed monkey. All are at risk of extinction. The five species live separately in temperate and tropical forest areas, with a different diet of leaves, buds, flowers, fruits, barks, lichens and moss. The golden snub-nosed monkey withstands cold better than any other primate - except humans with thermals, RGBE pointed out. This hand-painted, inflatable sculpture is one of a series created to highlight the plight of the increasingly endangered primates.

The Golden Monkey first appeared on the Melbourne Town Hall in Australia and subsequent versions have decorated The Opposite House hotel in Beijing as part of Beijing Design Week, the Temple House in Chengdu and off the high rise building H-Code in the centre of Hong Kong. Her most recent work, due to be launched on 24th November in Australia, is a chimpanzee called David Greybeard, created in collaboration with Dr Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute.

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RGBE head of creative programmes Emma Nicolson said: “We are thrilled to be premiering this important work by Lisa Roet as part of our inaugural season of Climate House. The work is a statement reminding us that we all need to act, and now, to prevent further ecological disaster. I also hope the work gives us, in 2020, a work to see as we spend time outdoors, to reflect upon and with.”

Roet added:" I’m so excited to see this work come to Scotland , presented in the prestigious Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh sharing the message about sustainability and conservation.

“The Golden Monkey represents the highly endangered snub-nosed monkey found in high altitudes in Yunnan - in fact the Golden Snub Nosed Monkey is the highest living non-human primates on the planet. With its cute, upturned nose, this monkey is revered in Chinese mythology and celebrated globally for its elusive beauty.

“Golden Monkey is the first in a series of my large-scale artworks about biodiversity. These works are designed to raise awareness about extinction of species and to address issues associated with increasing urbanisation and habitat destruction. Illegal logging, as in many parts of the world, has poised a major threat to the survival of this rare and beautiful monkey.”

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