A TASTE of Africa came to Solihull last week when a family of gorillas wowed visitors at the BBC Gardeners’ World Show at the NEC.
The exhibit, sculpted in Kenya from recycled cars and buses, has won its creator Chris Canaan from Akamba Easy Exotics in Dickens Heath, a coveted gold award at the popular annual event.
Akamba also took silver at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show last month.
The businessman, ex-Olympic speed skater and sculptor has run the garden centre based on an African village for six years and is no stranger to awards having garnered several at previous gardening shows.
Chris said: “The garden has taken a huge amount of time and effort to complete.
“I have designed everything and then nine metal artists in Nairobi put the exhibit together.
“The gorillas were then shipped to England but we had trouble at customs and they kept the container for examination for three weeks.
“The gorillas weren’t happy about it - they lost a lot of weight,” he laughed.
“The sculptures are also ambassadors for Kenyan orphans as we are raising money for our charity, Akamba Children’s Education Fund at www.acef.uk.com.
“All monies raised go directly to the charity raising money for our school, The Brainhouse Academy in the Mathare slum in Nairobi.”
Visitors can enjoy the exhibits at Akamba which is in Tythe Barn Lane and open seven days a week from 9am - 6pm ( late night opening on Thursdays until 10pm).
Visit www.akamba.co.uk or call 0121 733 3111 for more information.