A Company Installed a Bronze Gorilla Opposite Wall Street’s ‘Charging Bull’ in a Confusing Statement About Capitalism ‘Going Bananas’
First there was 'Fearless Girl,' now there's Harambe.
There’s a new sculpture facing down the Wall Street’s famed Charging Bull and the capitalist system it has come to represent. this time it’s not a little girl, but a giant gorilla.
The new artwork depicts a famous gorilla: Harambe, who Cincinnati zookeepers shot and killed in 2016 when a child climbed into his enclosure. A seven-foot-tall bronze statue of the animal now stands opposite the famous 1989 statue by Arturo Di Modica, on which the organizers of Harambe have dumped a massive pile of 10,000 bananas.
“The purpose of the protest is to highlight how out of touch Wall Street has become to the needs of everyday people and to challenge the street’s uncompassionate capitalism,” a sign installed on site read, according to MarketWatch. “As a symbol of the outrageous disparity in wealth between the 1 percent and everyone else, 10,000 bananas will surround Wall Street’s iconic Charging Bull to illustrate just how ‘bananas’ Wall Street has become.”
Like Fearless Girl, the statue designed by artist Kristen Visbal and installed facing Charging Bull on International Women’s Day in 2017, the Harambe statue is a marketing stunt. It is the work of Sapien.Network, a social networking platform that claims to put “the needs and welfare of human beings first.” (Fearless Girl was an ad for financial firm State Street Global Advisors’ Gender Diversity Index SHE, an exchange-traded fund investing in companies with women in upper management.)
“Though the gorilla never acted aggressively toward the child, Harambe was shot by zookeepers who were fearful for the child’s safety,” Sapien.Network said in a statement. “The bronze statue of Harambe, contrasted with the bronze Charging Bull of Wall Street, represents the millions of everyday people who struggle under a system that enriches wealthy elites and leaves the average person behind.”
The bananas used in the display are set to be donated to local food banks and community fridges.
“Harambe is a representation of something that lets us look at more than just ourselves. What are we aspiring to as people?” Robert Giometti, who cofounded the company with Tejay Aluru and Ankit Bhatia, told NBC New York. “It’s about connecting. A simple gesture of giving a banana builds community. As a society, we need to come together.”
Di Modica, the artist behind Charging Bull who died in February, has repeatedly said that his work was not pro-Wall Street, but a symbol of U.S. resilience in a time of economic downturn.
— The Sapien Tribe (@sapien_network) October 19, 2021
He has pointed out that the work was originally installed guerrilla-style under cover of night and impounded by the police, unlike the corporate origins of its supposedly feminist foe, whose owners he sued for copyright infringement.
Following Di Modica’s complaints, Fearless Girl was relocated to the New York Stock Exchange. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has proved unsuccessful in his campaign to relocate Charging Bull as well. It remains unclear how long the Harambe statue will join it on Bowling Green, but a Tweet from the company promoting the hashtag #WheresHarambeGoing implies the artwork will soon travel.
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