Janice Ashby is rearing a crash of colorful sculptures to put an end to rhino poaching. Inspired by CowParade, one of the most successful public art projects of all time that saw artsy cows parading cities across the globe, the South African designer is raising funds to install 100 or more life-sized rhinos throughout Cape Town. Once the public art exhibition is complete, the rhinos will be auctioned, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Stop Rhino Poaching, an organization committed to ending the vicious slaughter of over 1,000 rhinos each year.
The Rhinos Are Coming (TRAC) project entails several phases. The first phase involves raising funds to create 10 “Golden Rhinos” that will act as ambassadors for the greater crash (a herd of rhinos). From 1 February to 31 March, 2017, the Grand Rhino Launch Tour will tour South Africa to raise awareness of TRAC and encourage individuals and businesses to sponsor a new sculpture.
Making a life-sized rhino is neither simple nor cheap, so Ashby and her team require a lot of support. “A skilled sculptor creates a maquette, which is a miniature clay model of the rhino shape we require,” writes Ashby on Thundafund. “Details such as the position of the feet, the length of the horn, the posture of the rhino, etc are carefully considered. Then comes the upscaled model and mould. And, finally, the full sized rhinos will be cast from the mould.”
If TRAC is anywhere as successful as CowParade, the art project could be a huge boon for conservation efforts. Auctioned cows, made by both known and unknown artists and celebrities such as Karim Rashid, Vivienne Westwood and even David Lynch, raised $3 million for charity, according to the CowParade website. $1.4 million was raised online and $2.1 million was raised with help from Sotheby’s.
Support for the campaign comes with a variety of rewards, including discounted safaris and some of Ashby’s own designs made by local African artisans. The outdoor art exhibition in Cape Town, which has support from The City of Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism, and Cape Town Partnership, is expected to be held from December 2017 to March 2018.
Images via Janice Ashby, Cow image via CowParade