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February 1999
Koko and Michael
: Gorilla Art


Koko and Michael are two lowland gorillas who currently reside at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, California. The foundation began in 1976 to protect and promote awareness of issues affecting these great apes. Project Koko is one of the foundation’s most famous projects in which Dr. Francine Patterson and her colleagues embarked on a mission to teach Koko and Michael a modified form of American Sign Language. Dr. Patterson’s project literally gives a voice to, and reflects the intelligence and sensitivity of, these often misunderstood animals. Koko and Michael’s artwork reflects the depth of their perception, interpretation of emotions, and their phenomenal use of color. The black and white prints unfortunately don’t do justice to these works of art.—V.A.

To learn more about the Gorilla Foundation and see more artwork by Koko and Michael, check out their website: http://www. or email Koko:


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