EDITION 1 - SINGAPORE - 19 May 2023 - 18 May 2024
Gardens By The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
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Love The Tapanuli Orangutan
This 14-year-old male had such a great time growing up in the rainforests of Indonesia with all the exciting sounds, the bounty of different foods, and the different trees he had to learn. But that all seems to be disappearing. The trees are being cut down and one type is shooting up everywhere. His diverse home is disappearing and he doesn’t know how he will survive there. How will he find a range of foods? He’s heard that this tree is called palm oil.
The Malay word for “man of the forest”, orangutan, is the name for our orange-haired cousins. Only found in the Batang Tour Ecosystem in the three Tapanuli districts within North Sumatra in Indonesia, these arboreal great apes spend most of their time in trees with incredibly long arms fit for swinging. They are known as “gardeners” of the forest and are vital for seed dispersal. Males and females are sexually dimorphic so they are very easy to tell apart. The males have large cheek pads and a sagittal crest (a ridge of bone running like a mohawk along the skull) to show their dominance over other males.
Baby orangutans are completely dependent on their mothers for the first two years of their lives. They will be carried around on their mother’s belly having constant physical contact for the first 4 months. They will do everything together, travel, eat, and sleep. After this period the two start to spend more and more time apart. The mother will often enlist the help of one of her older children to help her raise her baby and socialise it. Once it is about on and a half, the baby will be quite a good climber and will be able to swing from tree to tree, holding hands with other orangutans in what is called “buddy travel”. But even when they become an adolescent at the age of six or seven, the baby will still find time for their mum.
Orangutans are one of the most intelligent non-human primates. They use tools, some even creating a toolkit containing insect-extraction sticks and seed-extraction sticks, adapting their tool for the task and even saving it for later. They have voluntary control over their vocalisations and one orangutan in the US National Zoo even learnt to whistle! They also show many humans characteristics such as laughter.
All three species of orangutan are listed as critically endangered and are legally protected in both Indonesia and Malaysia. Even so, they are easy targets for hunters being large and slow. The females are the most hunted for bushmeat with their babies being kept as pets, sent off on the illegal pet trade. Habitat loss is perhaps the biggest problem. Their home has been disappearing at a rapid rate to make way for palm oil plantations and other such projects. Over the past decade, it is estimated that orangutan populations have declined by 50% in the wild. There are currently less than 800 Tapanuli orangutan left in the wild, the most endangered of all three species.
HOW TO HELP
Inspired by animals that Gillie and Marc met on their travels, we invite the public to discover and interact with these beautiful creatures up close and personal – this allows audiences to connect, take photographs and share their favourite species with friends and family.
With more exposure comes more awareness and builds on the love we already have for animals around the world. With love comes a greater sense of urgency to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtag #LoveTheLast to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please help support the efforts of our charity partners:
SUPPORTING CHARITY PARTNER
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. As one of WWF’s international hubs, WWF-Singapore supports a global network spanning over 100 countries. We work to meet key conservation goals, such as deforestation, haze pollution, food security, sustainable finance, sustainable consumption and illegal wildlife trade.
ABOUT GILLIE AND MARC
Gillie and Marc’s highly coveted public artworks can be found worldwide including in New York, London, Singapore, Shanghai, and Sydney. They are Archibald Prize finalists, won the Chianciano Biennale in Italy, took out the Allens People’s Choice Award in 2016 and 2018 and Kids’ Choice Award in the 2016 Sculpture by the Sea and received the Bayside Arts Festival People's Choice Award in 2019 in Sydney.
The husband-and-wife duo are on a mission to make art for a better tomorrow. They are best known for their beloved characters, Rabbitwoman and Dogman, who tell the autobiographical tale of two opposites coming together as best friends and soul mates.
Gillie and Marc are also passionate eco-warriors and have dedicated their lives to protecting nature.
Gillie grew up with the wildlife in Zambia and Marc studied chimpanzees in Tanzania as a young man. Over time, the artists developed a deep appreciation for all living things and a desire to preserve the magnificence of the natural world.
Gillie and Marc’s mission is to save species from extinction. Through their practices, they are transforming passive audiences into passionate advocates for animal conservation, spreading awareness about endangered species and leading to change.
Their art has raised hundreds of thousands in donations for the many wildlife charities and causes they support through their project Love The Last.
Please follow @gillieandmarcart
If you are interested in buying art related to the Love the Last March, you will also be directly helping real animals in the wild, with 30% of sales going to WWF-Singapore to continue their fantastic work for animal conservation. Click here to browse art > https://gillieandmarc.com/collections/love-the-last-march
Family of Peter H.N Kendall