On the trail of T-Rex: Dinosaurs invade Norwich

Who doesn’t love a dinosaur? Big, fierce and scary, they capture the imaginations of young and old alike, their admirers revelling in the fact that although dinosaurs ruled the Earth for millions of years there’s not much risk of bumping into one while out doing the shopping or walking the dog. Except that wasn’t quite true in Norwich earlier this year, when the streets of Norfolk’s only city were awash with the scariest dino of all, the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex.

“Forget me not” by Claire Cassie and Paul Mynard, inspired by the forget-me-not flower, which serves as the symbol of Dementia awareness

OK, it’s true, the many T-Rex we saw roaming the streets of Norwich a few weeks ago weren’t quite on the scale of their Jurassic predecessors, being just shy of two metres in height and weighing in at a modest 80kg. But although just slimmed down versions of the real – but long extinct – thing, they definitely drew in the crowds.

“Dino Hunter” by Sophie Li-Rocchi

The Norwich dinosaur trail featured 55 Tyrannosaurus Rex sculptures decorated by around 50 professional and amateur artists, of whom 13 had never painted a sculpture before. Plainly this isn’t high art, but it sure brings a smile to the face.

“Dime-a-saurus rex” by Alix Carter is covered with scales made from thousands of low value coins. The sculpture seeks to represent the power of charitable donations and the impact that even the smallest donations can make.

Mrs P and I spent a couple of days exploring Norwich city centre tracking the dinosaurs down, and it was great to see so many kids – big and small! – being excited and inspired by them, and taking endless selfies in front of them.

“Doctasaurus” by Hilary Sanderson, created as a statement of gratitude to all the key workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic

The trail also encouraged a sense of community and common purpose. Several times we fell into conversation with total strangers, comparing notes on our favourite sculptures and sharing information on where some of the more elusive specimens could be found. We also took the time to tell our new friends about a similar festival in our local city last year, when Derby hosted an impressive Ram Trail.

Left: ” Sirdavidasaurus rex” by Faye Rackham celebrates the life and work of famed naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Top right: “B-Rex” by Illona Clark draws inspiration from bees, which play a vital role in pollinating plants and keeping food on our tables. Bottom right: “The Golden King” by Katy Stevens.

Norwich’s dinosaur trail delivered on so many levels. It was organised by Break, an East Anglian regional children’s care charity which is seeking to achieve “the best outcomes for young people on the edge of care, in care and moving on from care.” Although access to the dinosaur trail was free, a number of initiatives directly linked with it helped raise much-needed funds for this worthy organisation.

“Afternoon Tea-Rex” by Mik Richardson. Celebrating a quaint English tradition, Afternoon Tea-Rex wears his blue gingham waistcoat and tiny black bowtie with pride. He has a three-tiered cake stand laden with delicious goodies balanced on his head, a tray bearing teacups and a teapot in his hand, and a giant cherry on his back.

Break worked in collaboration with Wild in Art, which runs public art events in the UK and across the world, events “that entertain, enrich, inform and leave a lasting legacy.” Well, they certainly achieved that in Norwich, and also in Derby last year when they masterminded the Ram Trail that I referred to earlier.

“Prideasaurus” by Martin Wall. Covered from head to toe in sparkling crystals, Prideasaurus is described as a celebration of diversity, equality and inclusivity.

In addition, the Norwich trail provided opportunities for artists, in particular local artists, to create works that showcased their talents. And, crucially, it attracted people to visit the city centre and spend a bit of money there. These included both locals, and visitors – like Mrs P and I – from other parts of the country.

“Lost Holmes” by Sally Adams is inspired by the fusion of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character Sherlock Holmes with his tale of the ‘Lost World’, in which dinosaurs are the stars of the show

At a time when many businesses are struggling with the longer-term impacts of Covid and the horrific surge in energy prices, the extra business generated by the intrepid dinosaur hunters must have been most welcome.

“Arcadia” by Dandelion Mosaics. Arcadia is described as a mosaic masterpiece intended to depict a tree growing from a seed and showing how it is a transformation only made possible by the sun.

But most important of all the trail was a lot of fun, and don’t we all need some of that right now! Without exception, the vividly coloured dinosaurs brightened up their surroundings. Many were highly creative, and some were delightfully witty. A few hinted at deeper meanings, but the message common to all of them was simply this: art is fun, so come along and enjoy!

Top left: “Doodling Dino” by Esme Taylor. Doodling Dino is covered with doodles of Norfolk, including landscapes, heritage sites, amusement parks and other iconic locales. Bottom left: “Roary” by Caroline Carty, inspired by classic board games, card games, collectables and video games. Right: Feline-osaur by Ella Goodwin is cat-lovers dream, covered head to toe with friendly furry felines.

Sadly, the dinosaur trail is over. T-Rex sculptures have been rounded up from all over Norwich, and have been corralled somewhere safe. Before the end of the month these will be auctioned off to raise additional funds for Break. With luck some of them will be bought by local businesses and community organisations, and hopefully these will remain on display for dinosaur fans and public art enthusiasts of all ages to enjoy for many years to come.

“SNAP!” by Sophie Li-Rocchi

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23 comments

  1. Laurie Graves · September 28

    Marvelous! Can’t pick a favorite, but tea-rex comes close.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Platypus Man · September 28

      The variety of great ideas on show here is both inspiring and a little humbling.,,I wish I had a share of all that talent.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. tanjabrittonwriter · September 28

    What a fun event, and what beautiful creations. I always admire the artists who come up with such amazing designs. Luckily, these dinosaurs didn’t scare anybody.
    Considering that everybody wanted to take a selfie with the saurs, Mrs. P must have spent A LOT of time waiting in order to capture each image without a human in the picture. I’m impressed.
    Not that you asked, but “Forget me not” is my favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · September 28

      You have stumbled across the story of our shared existence…Mrs P striving endlessly for the perfect photo (no humans in sight). Mr P killing time on street corners patiently awaiting permission to move on! 🙂🙂🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • tanjabrittonwriter · September 29

        My husband could probably relate, even if in a slightly different settings (I trying to get a photo of a bird when we are out hiking together, he ready to move on…). One could maybe conclude that men who like women who like to take photos have to be extra patient. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Platypus Man · September 30

        I (and I suspect your husband too) have been well trained in the art of patience! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • tanjabrittonwriter · October 4

        Ah, the things you poor husbands have to suffer through…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Platypus Man · October 4

        I’m so pleased to know that you truly understand how hard we guys strive, how much we suffer … 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • tanjabrittonwriter · October 4

        I understand your suffering perfectly. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful promotion. I must admit to being a huge tea rex fan. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, Another Blogger · September 28

    This was a fantastic idea, one that could capture the imagination of almost anyone. As for the dinos themselves, I especially like Afternoon Tea-Rex.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · September 29

      Afternoon Tea-Rex has received lots of votes from people commenting on this post…he’s clearly a superstar!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Carol Ann Siciliano · September 28

    What a delightful adventure! Your photos and commentary beautifully capture the whimsey and fun. My fave: Afternoon Tea, although the pennies & tree mosaic are close.

    In Washington DC, we had a flurry of Pandas some time ago, and then (of course) elephants and donkeys. Ten years later, I still see them around the DC metropolitan area. I hope your favorite T-Rex’s find a way to linger….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · September 29

      Thank you. Whimsical is a great description of many of these creations, but none more so than Afternoon Tea-Rex. I love him! And by the way, “A flurry of pandas” – sounds wonderfully exotic 🐼

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Paddy Tobin · September 29

    Absolutely great fun and more imaginative and appealing than the herds of pigs which were around our town here some years back.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ms. Liz · September 30

    Wonderful! I’ve shared a link on twitter and the three I specifically mentioned in my tweet were: “Forget me not”, “Dime-a-saurus rex”, “Afternoon Tea-Rex”. Thanks for this, it’s fantastic 🙂

    Like

    • Platypus Man · October 1

      Thank you Liz, both for the kind comment and the Twitter share. You’ve picked out three of my favourites…so much creative talent on show in these superb dinos. I love ’em!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Trisha Hill · September 30

    I really enjoyed this David. Great photos by Mrs P and Norwich is a lovely city to host such a trail x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · October 1

      Thanks Trisha, so pleased this struck a chord with you. Spending a couple of days in Norwich definitely serves to put our own local city into perspective. A real chalk and cheese comparison. Norwich has so much going for it, so much to recommend it. Derby, however …!

      Like

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