ABOUT THE ANIMAL: There are two species of rhino endemic to Africa, the black and white rhino. Both of these beautiful species are in danger with the northern white rhino functionally extinct, only with two female rhinos left in the whole world.
Rhinos are one of the last remaining examples of mega-fauna, huge animals that have been around for millions of years. But they are in trouble because of humans. We are taking their homes to expand our own, but worst of all, we are taking their beautiful horns and leaving them for dead. Rhino horn is made from keratin, the same substance as our hair and fingernails. It is used in traditional Chinese medicines, encouraging a roaring trade on the black market, despite the mounting scientific evidence proving there are no health benefits. Now, all rhinos are in trouble and it so important that we raise awareness so we can stop this trade once and for all, protecting one of our most iconic animals in the process.
ABOUT THE PROJECT: In 2014 Gillie and Marc were invited by Federation Square in Melbourne to create an artwork for their Creative Program. The artists decided to use it as a platform to give a voice to the voiceless. Seven hundred black rhinos were slaughtered in 2013, marking it as the bloodiest year for poaching. The black rhino is critically endangered and could be extinct in less than two years.
Gillie and Marc created a remarkably high-tech installation that brought the call of the wild to the city. It featured three magnificent life-sized rhino sculptures that invited the public to be part of their run for freedom.
When someone climbed on the rhinos it would set off a recording of poachers shooting guns, followed by a rhino stampede. Millions of people passed through Federation Square and were only too eager to climb up on a rhino to create awareness about this endangered species. The event quickly went viral on Instagram too.
“Our hope was that everyone who sees Run for your Life can feel a connection to the rhinos and to their future,” Marc says.
EXHIBITION DATES: The sculpture is permanently located at La Trobe University in Melbourne.
EXHIBITION LOCATIONS: The sculpture was donated to La Trobe University in Melbourne in the name of bringing art to the people. “The Run for your Life sculptures are a welcome and striking addition to our Melbourne campus and appreciated by staff and students,” said Chancellor Professor Adrienne E Clarke. “Our family of rhinoceros are prompting discussion, delight and curiosity – traits encouraged by our University.”
HOW TO HELP: The sculpture is aligned with the hashtag #LoveTheLast. Visitors will be asked to take a photo with the artwork and share it with the hashtag, jump starting efforts to spread critical awareness. To help protect the rhinos you can give a donation to The Australian Rhino Project, a fantastic organisation fighting for African rhinos: https://theaustralianrhinoproject.org/