Unusual and Artistic Side of Animal Poo On Exhibit in London

London, the bustling metropolis known for its rich history and diverse cultural attractions, now hosts an exhibition that might raise a few eyebrows – an exhibition dedicated to animal poo!

Yes, you read that right. Tracey Lee, a former zookeeper and artist, has curated a unique collection of animal excrement that spans over two decades, The Guardian reports, and it’s made its public debut in London.

This remarkable exhibition, titled “The Origin of the Faeces: Poo at the Zoo,” promises to be both educational and eye-opening. Let’s dive into this extraordinary display of nature’s diversity.

Tracey Lee, a former zookeeper and artist, curated this extraordinary collection of animal excrement.
Photo: Facebook / Fusebox KingstonTracey Lee, a former zookeeper and artist, curated this extraordinary collection of animal excrement.

A Collection That Started with Heartache

Tracey Lee’s journey into the world of animal poo began in 2001 when her beloved elephant, Geetha, was moved from London Zoo to Whipsnade, London’s sister zoo, for more space.

The emotional bond Lee had formed with these magnificent creatures left her feeling bereft. Holding one of Geetha’s last poos, she realized it was the last physical connection she had with her cherished friend, she told The Guardian. Little did she know that this moment would mark the beginning of an exceptional collection.

The collection began in 2001 when Tracey Lee had to say goodbye to her favorite elephant, Geetha.
Photo: Pexels
The collection began in 2001 when Tracey Lee had to say goodbye to her favorite elephant, Geetha.

From Elephant Dung to Artistic Endeavors

In the 1990s, while working as an elephant keeper at London Zoo, Tracey Lee discovered the artistic potential of animal excrement when she collected elephant dung for renowned artist Chris Ofili, Westminster Extra reports. She dried the dung in the zoo’s boiler room, igniting her fascination with animal faeces. After Geetha’s departure, Lee continued to collect droppings, starting with Jos, a rhino she adored. This unconventional habit led to a two-decade-long journey of collecting, drying, and preserving animal stools.

The Unusual and Artistic Side of Poo

The Origin of the Faeces exhibition boasts an assortment of animal droppings from more than 120 different species. These specimens, once odorous and unsightly, have been transformed into fascinating works of art. Lee carefully preserves them in PVA glue and displays them in a manner that highlights their unique characteristics.

One particularly unusual example is the faecal matter of Zaire, a beloved gorilla from London Zoo, which Lee says resembles a giant kebab due to her voracious appetite.

Zaire, a beloved gorilla from London Zoo, left behind faecal matter that looks like a giant kebab due to her voracious appetite.
Photo: Pexels
Zaire, a beloved gorilla from London Zoo, left behind faecal matter that looks like a giant kebab due to her voracious appetite.

From Birds to Invertebrates: A Diverse Collection

The exhibition is a treasure trove of animal excrement, including contributions from endangered birds, reptiles, and invertebrates. Some of the highlights include:

  • The African wild dog, with its previously stinky excrement, now odorless after preservation.
  • The grape seed-sized poos of the Partula snail, a species extinct in the wild but making a return via captive-breeding programs.
  • The variety of faecal specimens reflects the incredible diversity of life on our planet, from the tiniest insects to the largest mammals.

“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,” said Robin Hutchinson, founder of the exhibition organisers The Community Brain and the charity Creative Youth. “I’m especially keen to use Tracey’s amazing exhibition to connect young people to the real plight of the natural world.”

This exhibition provides a fun and engaging way to bridge the gap between young people and the fascinating but often overlooked aspects of the natural world. With many children being more familiar with fictional creatures than real-life species, getting up close to the creatures’ poo serves as a memorable and relatable learning experience.

"The Origin of Faeces" exhibit features specimens from more than 120 different species, including snails, wild dogs, and rhinos.
Photo: Pexels
“The Origin of Faeces” exhibit features specimens from more than 120 different species, including snails, wild dogs, and rhinos.

While it may sound unconventional, this exhibition is more than just a collection of number twos; it’s a celebration of biodiversity and a stark reminder of the environmental challenges our world faces. And just to clarify, there’s no human excrement on display – that’s one category Lee has decided to skip.

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