When creativity and conservation connect

Taronga_Wild RhinosIn early February, a herd of 125 wildly colourful, life-sized rhino and rhino calf sculptures, all adorned with one-off designs by renowned contemporary and urban artists, descended on the streets of Sydney and regional NSW. In May, the rhinos are set to start the next part of their mission at a special fundraising auction where they will undoubtedly find new and welcoming homes.

The colourful cavalcade of rhinos formed part of a twelve week long, large-scale public art exhibition designed to raise vital funds for Taronga Zoo’s rhino breeding and conservation program – as well as increase awareness of the escalating threat which faces the world’s dwindling rhino population. While rhinos might look tough, the Black Rhino population has decreased by 97.6% since 1960 and they remain critically endangered.

The Taronga Zoo Wild! Rhinos project has brought together a diverse selection of noted artists, designers and school students who have used their considerable artistic talents to customise each sculpture and help promote the cause of rhino conservation.

Featured artists included iconic Australian artist Ken Done, leading fashion designer Camilla Franks, Archibald, Sulman and Dobel Prize winner Kevin Connor, artistic queen of the found object Jane Gillings, as well as renowned and internationally recognised Australian street artists, such as Numskull and Beastman.

The Wild! Rhinos gala fundraising auction to be held on Wednesday 14 May will provide a unique opportunity for members of the public to purchase original artworks from these leading Australian artists, while contributing much-needed funds to rhino conservation.

From Saturday 10 May until Wednesday 14 May (12noon), members of the public can head down to The Star in Pyrmont for their very own urban safari, where 45 of the rhinos will be on display together. The viewing will also provide ample opportunity for prospective buyers to survey the works on offer and decide which rhino(s) they’ll be adopting.

For more information about the sculptures, artists and tickets to the auction, visit: www.tarongawildrhinos.org.au for details.

Image: Safari Party – Georgia Perry (courtesy of Taronga Zoo)