“Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans, sharing approximately 98% of our genetic blueprint.” It’s stuff you learn about in school, but it’s still mind-blowing every time you’re reminded of it. Barcelona-based artist Gabi Guiard doesn’t humanize her chimp subjects, but she certainly sheds light on their individual personalities. She spent time at a sanctuary in Kenya photographing the mammals. Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy provides lifelong refuge to orphaned and abused chimps, and their total residency currently numbers 41. The sanctuary offers safety while workers nurse the rescued chimps back to health. Several of Gabi’s portraits reveal the chimps’ struggles — you can just see it in their faces. Still, there are plenty of reasons for many of them to smile, and their lively expressions will melt your heart. Click through for a look at Guiard’s intimate portraits of chimps.
Image credit: Gabi Guiard