Born Free Lions
Art Newcastle City Centre Tyne And Wear

Born Free Lions

Art In Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear

25 bronze lion sculptures by artists Gillie and Marc, temporarily on display in Exhibition Park.

We've had lions in the North East of England before: Lambton Lion Park in Chester-le-Street held lions (and escapee baboons) in the 1970s, and Alnwick has the Percy Lion statue in pride of place near Barter Books. However, we now have 25 stunning bronze lion sculptures temporarily on display at Exhibition Park until 30th June 2022.

The lion sculptures entitled Born Free Forever were created by artists Gillie and Marc in partnership with the Born Free Foundation. The Born Free charity aims to ensure all animals are treated with compassion and respect, and works hard to ensure animal habitats are preserved. You can read more about the charity on their website: Born Free.

The sculpture is based on the true story of George Adamson and his wife Joy who released an orphaned cub back into the wild in the 1950s. Their story was made into a film in 1966. The exhibition was unveiled in Newcastle by the film's star Virginia McKenna on the 4th April 2022.

The aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness and funds to save wild lions and their habitats. Lion populations have decreased by half in the last 25 years and there are estimated to be just 20,000 lions left in the wild - a shocking statistic really.

The Born Free Forever exhibition is part of the bigger project, the Love the Last project, encouraging people to take action before lions become an endangered species. Find out more about the wider project here: Love the Last.

You can also follow the discussion on social media using the hashtags #lovethelast and #bornfreeforever.

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Contributed by Sandra Clemens

I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.

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Sandra Clemens

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