In 2012, four rhinos mysteriously died in Targona’s Western Plain Zoo in Dubbo including a mother and her calf. Gillie and Marc wanted to create an artwork in their memory while also raising awareness for the need for rhino conservation.
Three black rhino mother and calf sculptures were installed at the Visitor Information Centre, the Dubbo Regional Airport and the front of the Zoo. The artists used images of the Zoo’s Black Rhino mother and calf Bakhita and Kufara as inspiration for the sculptures. Both the Director of Dubbo Zoo and the Mayor of Dubbo commented to the press on how well these rhinos linked Dubbo and the Zoo while highlighting the plight of wild rhinos.
Poaching is at unprecedented levels. In Africa, rhino populations are barely keeping pace. These sculptures raise awareness of their potential extinction while highlighting the importance of breeding programs.
“Artists Gillie and Marc have done an amazing job of capturing such an iconic species in a very lifelike and natural way,” said Matthew Fuller, Director of Dubbo Zoo.
“These sculptures reflect the community’s pride in the Zoo and the research and conservation endeavours that take place right here in our city,” said Mayor of Dubbo Councillor Mathew Dickerson. “I believe the sculptures in themselves may become iconic city attractions.”
“We were so happy to do this,” Gillie says. “Each of our rhino sculptures is a memento to the rhinos that were lost, a constant reminder of this endangered species and a message to protect threatened animals.”