Penny the Orangutan Gets a Facemask

Someone has decided to give Chiswick's W4th Plinth some PPE

Picture: Karen Liebreich


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Penny the Orangutan, the art work at the Turnham Green Terrace piazza, has been given a facemask by an unknown benefactor.

The new artwork for 'Chiswick's Fourth Plinth ' by David Kimpton and Richard Lawton, which is comprised entirely of pennies, and which cost £20 to create, got the addition just as the debate about the value of face masks to help stave off the coronavirus was heating up.

Penny was created to raise funds for conservation of the endangered species in Sumatra but now seems to be being used to spread a public health message.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, has joined calls for more widespread use to be made of face masks particularly in situations where social distancing is more difficult. The government’s position is that the case for universal wearing of face masks is far from clear cut but they are not discouraging people from using non-surgical facemasks.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, has said there should be "clear evidence" to justify their use and that securing supplies for NHS staff amid huge global demand was "crucial".

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also said there is no evidence to support the use of face masks by the general population and that people who are not in health and care facilities should only wear masks if they are sick or caring for those who are ill.

Penny was unveiled by Rebecca Frayn, local filmmaker and novelist, at a ceremony on the Turnham Green Piazza just before the lockdown.

Voting had been underway for the previous few weeks to choose the second artwork to grace the space, and Karen Liebreich of Abundance said that there had been a great response from the public with 1,400 votes.

The W4th Plinth artspace was launched by Abundance London in September 2019, taking its name from the Trafalgar Square 4th plinth of rotating artworks.

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April 21, 2020

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