Southampton’s Summer Art Trail

Don’t like to brag, but I think my two sons and I were the first small party to hit the Marwell’s Zany Zebra Summer Art Trail here in Southampton, UK, last July 2016

Hmm! you know what they say pride comes before a fall!…and that brings me to my confession. But first…

The morning was sunny, sporting a light breeze as we readied ourselves for a day of discovery. I made sure the camera batteries were fully charged, picnic lunch was packed and the boys had put on sensible walking shoes. All boxes ticked; we were gone!

It was a twenty-minute walk from home, to our first encounter with a zebra sculpture down at the railway station. So, here was the deal – I took a photo of the boys together with each zebra, then they took a photo of me.

The three of us walked around the streets discovering zebra after zebra; through the common, around the old crumbling Norman wall, that once stood to protect old Southampton, through Bar Gate – the original main entrance to the town, down Lower Bar, overseen by King George III (attired in Roman garb looking like a conquer). One of those quirky bits of British history that we chuckle at, but love to pieces! And on down to the coastline.


The boys and I walked for hours and although initially reluctant, by the time we had “bagged” our fourth zebra, they were enthused and with me.

Not all Zebras were out on display which bemused us; however, all was understood after a frustrating half hour walking around and around West Quay Mall looking for more.

Now back to that confession – Typically, as an enthusiastic, big picture thinker, I had overlooked the fact that the trail didn’t officially start until the next day on July 16th! Glad I got that off my chest…

But here’s the fun part; we saw over the heads of the many shoppers’ colourful zebras coming towards us! They were being carried by naval personal to be positioned in the mall walkways. This was cool; I was able to have a quick chat with one of the organisers who directed us to the zebra trail shop in Marlands Mall just up the road.  There we discovered a whole herd of foals fenced off on a large platform. These smaller zebra sculptures were painted and collaged by children as part of their individual school’s project.


All these zebras, including the miniatures, were displayed for one last time together at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton a couple of weeks ago. The large sculptures were sold in a Charity Fundraising Auction to help support Marwell’s work with Grevy’s zebra and other wildlife in Africa.

For me, of course, art was the draw card. I do love animals, but art, it must be said made this trail something I wanted to experience. Many of the painted sculptures were amusing to me. There were a few, however, that stood out enough, that if I could have afforded to bid at auction I would have.

 Zebraversity was a strong favourite – Painted by Clare of Portmouth based Smock and Ballpoint.


I loved Dave by Stephen McKay a Liverpool based artist


and the monochrome appeal of Silver by the Chilean-German artist Osch had me gazing at it for prolonged minutes.


For my boys, the Zeeberry on the top by Pickwell Farm


was by far Zeeby Road painted by Jenny Leonard a London based artist. This photo I took of the boys walking with Zeeby Road now hangs on the wall above our piano.


I leave you with another favourite of mine – carpe Diem, by Jasen Barker.


Ain’t that the challenge though, for all of us in the twenty-first century! In a world that presents countless choices, overwhelming us with limitless decisions, often thrusting us into paralysing procrastination, inevitably stealing our time!

Are you like me – having to slap yourself in the face with a cold wet flannel, point a steely index at your reflection in the mirror, while delivering a stern pep-talk, quickly followed by a look that could kill; all, in an attempt, to shake off deferment and knuckle down to the expedient; you know – That very thing that gets you out of bed!

Does anyone understand what I just wrote there! Oh well…

Carpe Diem my friends


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