I love the colour scheme for this Harbourside Gorilla and the expression in the eyes. One of my favourites!
The artist, Laura Cramer, calls it her ‘Bristol Harbourside Gorilla’. And it’s been really popular:
You can see Pero’s Bridge on one of his sides, a modern footbridge that opened in 1999 to connect the two sides of this stretch of the Harbour, linking the Arnolfini and The Watershed easily.
It’s a bascule bridge that can be raised for tall ships such as the Matthew to come through.
The bridge is eloquently described by Yvette Rose for UCLan as follows :
Unlike Liverpool and London, Bristol has at last constructed an appropriate memorial to the trade to accompany its belated exhibit A Respectable Trade? Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery (1999), a bridge across the harbour in Bristol named after Pero, an African who was the servant of the Pinney family who lived in the city’s Georgian House museum in the late eighteenth century having come from the Pinney estate in Nevis in 1784. Its central double arch of horns speaks to the musical heritage Pero and his compatriots brought with them and more symbolically to the way their history resonates today, while the ladders in the middle of the bridge are a reminder of the ladders on ships’ riggings that brought Africans across the Atlantic and back again.
Such a memorial shows what is possible and the way in which even the most pragmatic of architecture can be used to remember and celebrate a black presence. Such architectural remembrance is particularly crucial to Bristol where an anonymous commentator opined “(T)here is not a brick in the city but what is cemented with the blood of a slave”.