Part Darwin, part gorilla: Theory of evolution becomes work of art

By Sue Austin | Shrewsbury | Attractions | Published:

It’s a remarkable fusion of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.

Miriam Bradford looks at the Darwinism sculpture made by Luke Kite at the British Ironwork Centre

A new sculpture to celebrate the Shropshire naturalist’s centenary is to go on show in Shrewsbury’s Darwin Centre.

Now visitors to the British Ironwork Centre, where it was created, are being given a sneak peak before it is moved to its new home.

The piece of art, which portrays Darwin’s head on an enormous gorilla, is the work of sculptor Luke Kite, helped by staff from the centre near Oswestry.

Luke, who moved to the county from Wales in 2007, is well known for his metal creations and his unique, metal and oak combined sculptures.

He said: “One of my main passions is the challenge of a new project, and I pride himself on going above and beyond with each creation.”

The Darwin statue

It was moving to Shropshire that gave Luke the chance to combine metal and the remains of the aged Shropshire Oak, felled in the 1940s.

Entitled Darwinism, the larger than life Darwin gorilla is a project involving the Ironwork Centre and the county-wide organisation Buy from Shropshire.


Graeme Christie, from Buy from Shropshire, said the organisation had joined forces with Shropshire Council to introduce county food and drink producers into the Darwin Centre.

The sculpture was also part of encouraging creative excellent in the county, he said.

Months of work has gone into creating Darwinism with Luke’s trademark, ‘sharp art’ metal work showing through.



His public art, in conjunction with the Ironwork Centre, already includes a sculpture of Percy the Peacock at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, a piece of art to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS in Shropshire and The Terminator, which will star in the Shrewsbury-based, Comic Salopia in June.

The British Ironwork Centre agreed to get involved with the Darwin artwork under its artist support programme.

Ironwork Centre chairman Clive Knowles said: “We see this as our opportunity to help make Shropshire the art centre of the UK.

“This county is already full of artists, so many in fact that it is entirely possibly to gain a national reputation for being the most artistically gifted county in the UK.

The Darwin statue

He said the concept of the gorilla with Darwin’s head on top for the Ironwork Centre’s signature style.

Gorillas of all shapes and sizes can be seen at the British Ironwork Centre, the most famous the spoon gorilla that was created for illusionist, Uri Geller, made from thousands of spoons, donated by the people of Shropshire and made by artist, Alfie Bradley.

The best known sculpture produced at the British Ironwork Centre to date is Alfie Bradley’s Knife Angel.

Created as part of an anti-knife campaign, the Knife Angel is currently on a tour of Britain, visiting cathedrals and civic centres.

It is currently on display outside Coventry Cathedral, where it will remain over Easter.

There is currently a campaign to see the Knife Angel positioned in the centre of London, preferably Trafalgar Square.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.


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