Street art enthusiasts go ape for charity

Sydney's funkiest animal lovers, artists and likeminded businesses have raised over A$11,000 at a street art charity battle and auction for the Australian arm of Borneo Orangutan Survival foundation.

Sydney’s funkiest animal lovers, artists and likeminded businesses have raised over A$11,000 at a street art charity battle and auction for the Australian arm of Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) foundation. Name This Bar in Sydney’s Darlinghurst, heaved with a wall to wall mash up of supporters, live music, art and free flowing good will.

Guests attended the event to raise funds for the Australian arm of the Borneo Orangutan Survival foundation.

The funds raised will support the foundation’s 2011 mission – to release 135 endangered orangutans – the largest release number ever – back to the wild.

Competition was fierce as street artists Deb, Amuse, Sam Clouston, Paul Gilsenan, Justin Feuerring, Rebecca Murphy, Bridge Stehli and Jess Cook raced the clock to create eight distinctive orangutan/ ‘please release me’ themed artworks in just two hours.

Auctioneer Romany Brooks worked the crowd delivering a brilliant result – even managing to win a bid herself on Rebecca Murphy’s seductive woman. The event emcee Triple J breakfast presenter Tom Ballard, who recently adopted an orangutan, walked away with the most talked about piece – a fearsome acrylic by artist Sam Coulston.

TV favourite Cornelia Francis better known as Home and Away’s Morag placed a private bid on Justin Feuerring – nephew of famous artist Maxamillion Feuerring. Event creative Alex Zabotto-Bentley took out a Paul Gilsenan – a.k.a Duckman peice. And Karen and Don Parson who happened upon the evening by chance got more than take-away when they went home with an original painting done by a real orangutan. Orangutan paintings are extremely rare and are highly sought after by those in the know. It was no easy feat getting this work to auction, with the first two versions and a set of paintbrushes gobbled up by the artist.

Over $11,000 was raised during the art auction.

Lisa McGuigan received a colourful Amuse work by friend Kate Hooper, who won a fierce round of bidding. And a last minute impromptu lot, sketches by newspaper caricaturist Peter Byrne created on the night, were snapped up by Name This Bar owner Simon Mercier.

Guests were treated to a front row seat of the art-action and had to be mindful of knocking into the artists as they guzzled Cockfighter’s Ghost Sparkling Chardonnay, Jungle Fever cocktails by Appleton Estate Rum, Tiger Beer, and delicious canapés by award winning caterers – Gastronomy, kindly donated to the cause.

Pumping performers – singer Anikiko, band Vindan and the Loose Cannons, and deejays Gabriel Clouston and Damian Goundrie also donated their time to set a cranking vibe for the night.

BOS Australia President, Tony Gilding says BOS is thrilled with the results. There was a great atmosphere and everyone was so generous. The A$11,000 raised will go a long way to Australia’s target contribution of $150,000 and now we need just $45,000 to see this release go ahead in 2011.”

“In 10 years from now we hope to have large pockets of protected rainforest sanctuaries so all the healthy orangutans living in our care, and ready to be released, can once again be wild and free.

Jungle Fever cocktails by Appleton Estate Rum added to the events theme.

“It’s an expensive process however, with land in the region so valued by resource companies who are ripping away the natural habitat of the orangutan. Even the smallest of donations will have an impact in helping us achieve the large scale release this year, so we hope those who wanted to come but couldn’t make it, might consider getting online at to sponsor the release of one of these beautiful guys,” he says.

Bornean Orangutans are listed as endangered with numbers estimated to be less than 14% of what they were in the recent past, the sharp decline is due mainly to human activities and development. Their habitat has been reduced to such a level that they are now only found in small pockets of remaining rainforest, with many of these at risk. It is estimated that Orangutans will be extinct in as little as 10 to 30 years if there is no serious effort to overcome threats such as deforestation by illegal logging, fire and the extensive development of palm oil plantations within their natural habitat.
The 2011 release program will help ensure the survival of Bornean Orangutans in a natural, protected habitat, allowing some of the released primates to live freely for the very first time.

The fundraising target of $150,000 will cover the cost of ten quarantine enclosures for the release program, allowing the first group of orangutans to have vet checks, radio tracking implants, DNA testing and be quarantined for up to a month to ensure they are disease-free when returned to the pristine rainforest as part of the first colony.

BOS is non-profit organisation that is dedicated to the conservation of the endangered Bornean Orangutan and its habitat. BOS is the biggest primate conservation NGO worldwide, operating two main rehabilitation areas – Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan and Nyaru Menteng in Central Kalimantan.

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