“No one will protect what they don't care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced” - Sir David Attenborough
When we think of what we really love, really feel passionate about, and feel compelled to act for, it is all centred around what we have experienced. We love our friends and family and we will help them whenever we can. But imagine if we could create these bonds with those who desperately need our help, wildlife. If we could see wild animals up close and get to know them as individuals, perhaps they would become a part of that special place in our hearts. We would not think twice about getting involved.
The world is facing one of its biggest threats, the loss of biodiversity. Currently, over 32,000 species that are listed on the IUCN are threatened by extinction. One in 4 mammals are facing extinction and humans are the single biggest factor. Habitat loss, poaching, pollution, and climate change are some of the major ways we threaten the wild world. It’s up to us to change this.
Of course, the entire world isn’t going to head out on a safari to Africa or travel to the freezing Arctic circle to experience these animals in the wild. So, Gillie and Marc are bringing the wild to them.
In a 15 year project of love, Gillie and Marc are bringing the faces of the wild to the people of New York City in an intimate public art exhibition designed specifically to create experiences that will make people care. The larger than life animals are being brought to the streets of NYC in a once in a lifetime chance for the public. They will get to look into the faces of the most endangered animals in the world and have an experience they will never forget. This experience could mean a world of difference for so many.
This is one of the most important public art projects of our time, a project that is focused on forging everlasting bonds of love that can save thousands of lives. Now is our chance to convince the world about the importance of conservation.
Each of the sculptures contains a QR code that provides information on each of the animals, including the threats to their survival.
THE SCULPTURE EXPERIENCE
Standing at 1.8m tall are the faces of 9 of the most endangered animals in the world. Created by internationally renowned public artists Gillie and Marc and based on the many photographs and sketches they have taken of wildlife over the past 15 years, this monumental exhibition is giving the public a unique experience to look deep into the eyes of these threatened animals in an intimate exchange, coming face to face with extinction.
The 9 animals include the northern white rhino, chimpanzee, addax, western lowland gorilla, polar bear, red wolf, African forest elephant, hippopotamus, and the lion. These animals come from all over the world, from the African savannahs to the rainforests of Indonesia. They are all beautiful, instantly recognizable, yet in desperate need of help.
In a fusion of conservation and contemporary art, the public is given an urgent message. This public sculpture experience is letting the public see these animals up close and personal, becoming aware of how endangered they really are. Because the public doesn’t see these animals in their day to day life, they may not realise how much they are at risk. This exhibition is changing this. The animals have been brought to the urban jungle, into the lives of the public in a brand new way. And once they can see them in this light, a part of their own home, then a bond can be formed.
As the public goes to each individual sculpture they will be able to do what no one has ever been able to do before. They will be able to look deep into the eyes of the most endangered animals in the world, seeing in exquisite detail the lines and shapes of these unique creatures. And even better, they will be able to touch their heads with their own, a moment of deep reverence and love that will stay with them forever. Once they have made this connection they will never be able to look away again. They will become the new saviours of animals.
To make this sculpture have even more of a lasting impact it is also educational and interactive. Along with each individual animal comes a QR code. The QR codes will enable the public to learn all about the animals. They will also discover important information about conservation, sparking enthusiasm and generating awareness about the important work needed. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the public to get up close and personal with the faces of these animals and fall in love.
Conservation must become the most important issue in everybody’s mind if we are to change the path to save the wild world.
Faces of the Wild will be exhibited as a public exhibition from April 2022 in New York City.
April 1st - July 31st: New York City’s Ruth Wittenberg Triangle
July 31st: Next Location announced soon
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Saving nature is at the very heart of WWF’s work. For over 60 years, the organization has sought to find solutions to help save the marvelous array of life on our planet, by applying the best science available and working closely with local communities who live near and among wildlife.
WWF works in nearly 100 countries, developing and delivering innovative solutions that protect communities, wildlife, and the places in which they live. Through these initiatives, WWF endeavors to save populations of the most ecologically, economically and culturally important species in the wild. Ultimately, by protecting species, we can save this beautiful, vulnerable and utterly irreplaceable planet both species and people call home.
But WWF’s work is far from done. Humans are behind the current rate of species extinction, which is at least 100–1,000 times higher than nature intended. We’ve seen an astonishing 68% decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians between 1970 and 2016—and the impacts will reach far beyond the potential cultural loss of iconic species like tigers, rhinos and whales.
In recent years, the conservation world has also observed some glimmers of hope. WWF has been part of inspiring wildlife recovery work ranging from black rhinos in Southern Africa to polar bears in the Arctic. And this, in turn, is helping to protect rich and varied ecosystems while ensuring people continue to benefit from nature.
This much is clear: we cannot afford to fail in our mission to save a living planet.
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