52°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Artistic Evolution at Franklin Park

Artistic Evolution at Franklin Park

Most people go to the zoo to observe wild and exotic animals up close, and perhaps to learn a little bit about the mysterious creatures. The highlight of one of these trips usually involves a glimpse of the animals interacting with each other, playing, eating, all that jazz. If your luck is anything like mine however, most of the animals are either sleeping or sick and therefore not on display. But the gorillas at the Franklin Park Zoo do something a little different. They paint.

Now through September 14, the zoo’s Tropical Rainforest Pavilion will be the site of: “Okie and Little Joe: A Retrospective,” an exhibit showcasing the works of two of the zoo’s western lowland gorillas and resident animal artists. Original art work from the show’s curator, artist Jen Bradley, will also be on display alongside the work of her primate peers.

The two gorillas have been avid finger painters since the hobby was introduced as part of the zoo’s enrichment program-created to stimulate the minds of the gorillas. In 2004 a Zookeeper first offered Okie non-toxic finger-paints and the gorilla has been producing artwork ever since. Little Joe on the other hand is newer to the field, displaying little interest in the painting process until this past winter when he started creating artwork of his own. The two gorillas have even developed their own styles and techniques, with Little Joe developing a distinctive style using fingerprints.

While the gorillas are still relative newcomers to the field of art, curator Bradley has been producing drawings and paintings inspired by the zoo’s gorillas since 1994. Her work has been exhibited across the US as well as in private collections both nationally and internationally.

For more information on Okie & Little Joe visit: www.franklinparkzoo.org/gorillas

For information on Jen Bradley visit: www.jenbradleyportfolio.com