Unveiling the Art of Poo: 'The Origin of the Faeces' Unique Exhibition Coming to FUSEBOX, Kingston
Prepare to be amazed by the UK's most unusual art collection! We're over the moon to be unveiling an exciting and original exhibition called 'The Origin of The Faeces: Poo From The Zoo' at FUSEBOX in Kingston upon Thames next month.
The exhibition is a unique showcase curated by Tracey Lee (pictured above), a former senior zookeeper at London Zoo who for the past 22 years has been collecting and preserving animal dung from more than 100 different species - many of which are threatened in the wild and part of important global breeding programmes designed to protect the species’ future.
Now Tracey has teamed up with The Community Brain and Creative Youth to give visitors of all ages the chance to explore the weird and wonderful world of animal poo, while challenging societal norms and sparking conversations about nature and conservation.
THE ORIGIN OF THE EXHIBITION
With a background in art, Tracy has worked for London Zoo for more than 30 years and during that time she has cared for some of the planet's most majestic creatures, from elephants and black rhinos to pygmy hippos and Sumatran tigers.
Her unique collection and unusual artistic journey began by accident in 2001 when the conservation zoo’s elephants, which she had cared for everyday for the past 12 years, moved to Whipsnade Zoo. As she was cleaning out the elephant house for the final time, she found herself inexplicably captivated by the last solitary ball of dung. But rather than discard it she dried it and kept it. A little while later, the zoo’s last black rhino also moved, and again, Tracey felt motivated to preserve its last poo. She later displayed these two ‘mementos’ on canvas in her first piece titled: The Last Poo at the Zoo. And her collection grew from there. Today, Tracey’s unique collection boasts over 100 preserved specimens and features dung from a wide range of animals including faeces from an endangered gorilla that looks like a kebab (see below), a tadpole-like giant Galapagos tortoise poo and even tiny droppings from a caterpillar!
Each poo has been carefully preserved using Tracey's special technique, which retains the detail and makes them odourless and hygienic to display.
As well as getting up close to the poo, the exhibition will give visitors a chance to discover more about Tracey’s journey through photographs, soundscapes, and artwork.
The Origin of the Faeces: Poo from the Zoo is a collaboration between Tracey, Kingston-based not-for-profit The Community Brain and arts charity Creative Youth. It will also be the first major exhibition to premiere at FUSEBOX, SW London’s newest dedicated multi-arts venue, which HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened in July.
Tracey says: “I’ve been collecting and preserving animal poo for the last 22 years and in all that time it’s been in my home where it’s only ever been seen by a handful of people and never in its entirety. “This exhibition isn't just about poo; it's about capturing the essence of these magnificent animals in
a way that's both educational and eye-opening. It's a celebration of nature's diversity, while also a
sobering reminder of the environmental challenges we face.”
Robin Hutchinson MBE, Director and founder of The Community Brain and Creative Youth, says:
“When we first heard about Tracey’s collection and her amazing story, we just knew it had to be
shared with more people. This is a brilliant exhibition because it gives visitors permission to talk
about poo – and that’s something that appeals to people of all ages.
“I’m especially keen to use Tracey’s amazing exhibition to connect young people to the real plight of
the natural world. The reality for many children today is that they can be more familiar with fictional
Pokémon creatures than they are with many of the real-life species represented in Tracey’s
collection. Getting up close to the creatures’ poo is a fun way to help enable this.”
● When: Monday 9th October to Saturday 28 October 2023. Open: Mon - Sat 11:00 - 18:00
● Where: FUSEBOX, Kingston Riverside, next to Kingston Bridge and underneath John Lewis.
● Who: Open to everyone
● Cost: FREE