Why do we march? We march for solidarity. We march for the future. And we march to affect change. We have seen how a march can revolutionise our society; Gandhi’s salt march in 1930, the march on Washington in 1963, and the march for science in 2017, to name just a few.
In 2023 there will be another march, perhaps the most important of them all. But this march is a little different - it is the first of its kind; this is a march of wildlife.
On National Endangered Species Day 2023 (19th May), Singapore will play host to the largest sculpture in the world - Love The Last March. At the acclaimed horticultural attraction Gardens by the Bay; a total of 45 of the world’s most endangered species led by a great mountain gorilla, will be marching together. Depicting the greatest animal march on Planet Earth, it aims to bring awareness to the massive rate of wildlife extinction and to help save the animal kingdom.
Internationally renowned artists, Gillie and Marc are back with their biggest sculpture yet. Well known for their monumental public sculptures of wildlife such as The Last Three for the Northern white rhino and King Nyani for gorillas, they have been bringing awareness to wildlife through their art for decades.
They explain their inspiration for this project:
“Usually when we create a public sculpture for wildlife, we focus on one animal per project. But the rate of extinction is picking up at a terrifying rate. We wanted to show the scale of this issue, bringing awareness of the overarching problem as well as highlighting individual species.” – Gillie and Marc, Artists
Based on photographs and sketches they have collected over their years of studying wildlife and animals such as the mountain gorilla, giraffe, giant panda, and the Northern hairy-nosed wombat, each is brought to life in vivid detail.
Today, we are living in the 6th mass extinction of wildlife animals. According to a 2020 report from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the world has lost 68% of its wildlife in just four decades. We are losing between 200 and 2,000 different species every year, believed to be between 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate of extinction. 1 million species are at risk of extinction because of habitat loss, about 85% of all wildlife.
Another sobering study published in 2021 in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, found that less than 3% of the world’s ecosystems are intact, with minimal destruction of habitat and loss of native species.
This is clearly a huge problem.
“Extinction can often be a silent event, particularly for those of us living in urban environments, far removed from wildlife. We knew that we had to do something really big to show how important this was. This issue deserves the largest sculpture in the world,” shares Gillie.
At a whopping 192 metres in length, this sculpture exhibition is massive. In comparison, the next largest sculpture, the Statue of Unity in India, is 182 metres. The Statue of Liberty is 46 metres.
Love The Last March is not your average sculpture exhibition. It has been designed to be interactive. Walking past each animal, the public will be able to scan QR codes which take them to an informative web page so they can learn about the animal behind the sculpture. Here they can learn about its behaviour, what it likes to eat, and most importantly, why it is threatened.
“We believe that nobody will care about something they have never experienced. So our public sculptures are designed to give them an unforgettable experience with wildlife. By creating a hyper-realistic sculpture they can touch and study up close, combined with all the facts about the animal, we create a connection they may never have made. And with that intimate personal connection buds the beginnings of a conservationist,” Marc explains.
Another highlight of this exhibition is its chosen location. Despite being the third most densely populated place in the world, Singapore is also a metropolis of nature and has found a way to create harmony between the urban and the natural. As such, Gille and Marc are very excited for this collaboration with Gardens by the Bay, a beautiful 101-hectare garden in the country’s city centre that blends horticulture, sustainability and architectural design.
“Surrounded by more than 1,500,000 plants, this explosion of nature and diversity in the heart of a thriving urban city shows what can be possible if the planet is a priority and shows that it is possible to live with rather than against nature.” - Gillie and Marc
In partnership with WWF-Singapore (World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore), the public is also given the opportunity to directly impact the lives of these animals as they view the sculpture. With links to a donation page, they can make a tangible difference by supporting one of the most respected and impactful wildlife charities in the world.
But Love The Last March has one more highlight to make it a truly unforgettable experience. By downloading an app and scanning a QR code, the sculpture comes to life with a 3D animation. Through their screens, visitors will be able to see the animals leap out of their static bronze bodies and begin their march, making it seem as though they are really there, marching together for their lives.
“Love The Last March will be the most important sculpture we ever created so we had to make sure it was unforgettable. We hope that with the addition of augmented reality, people will become even more inspired to march alongside the animals, joining the movement to protect the world’s precious creatures,” Gillie adds.
Love The Last March will open on 19th May 2023 as a celebration of National Endangered Species Day. It will be exhibited in Singapore's Gardens by the Bay until 18th May 2024.
About Love The Last
Love The Last is a social movement driven by public art to raise awareness, funds and support for some of the world’s most endangered species. Monumental artists, Gillie and Marc, want to create sculptures all around the world that tell the stories of these endangered species to drive positive change and ensure these animals don’t leave us forever. By bringing these animals into urban environments it sends a message that is hard to ignore. The artists are committed to making robust, eye-catching artworks that are designed to be touched, climbed on and photographed with. When people interact with the artwork it is the first step towards loving these animals and if people can love these endangered animals they can begin to care for them and act now to stop their extinction.