Tuesday, 25 November 2008

A bronze sculpture of life-sized cheetahs in motion, by the eminent sculptor Colin Webster-Watson (1926-2007), has been given pride of place in the Zoo’s new Cheetah Garden.

Donated to the Zoo by the Colin Webster-Watson Estate, Mountain of Dreams captures the sleekness of cheetahs Colin sketched, and came to love, on safari in South Africa in the 1980s.

Anne Manchester, Colin’s niece and manager of his estate, will host a dedication ceremony at the Zoo on Saturday 29 November.

Ms Manchester says that it was Colin’s expressed wish that, after his death, his art benefit both animals and children.

“For this reason the Zoo is a wonderful home for this sculpture. It needed a home, and given the responsibility of finding this home, I am pleased to see the sculpture made so accessible to children and at such proximity to the living cheetahs.

“Colin would have loved to have seen people enjoying his work, and seeing for themselves the relationship between the sculpted and living forms of the cheetah,” Ms Manchester says.

This is the second donation by Colin to the Zoo; in 2007 he gifted Winnie the Rhino—sculpted in 1831 by French artist Antoine-Louis Barye—as a gift to Wellington children.

Karen Fifield, Zoo Chief Executive, says the Zoo is privileged to be the benefactor of Colin’s generosity and that of his estate. “Thanks to Colin’s vision and kindness, these sculptures will continue to inspire both Wellingtonians and visitors to the city for generations to come.”

Visitors to the Zoo can also see the original model for Prowling Cheetah, another bronze piece by Colin, at the front entrance.

Colin and a replica of Mountain of Dreams at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego.