Can Street Art Save the Last 6 White Rhinos Left on the Planet?
Source:Société Perrier Author:James Buxton Date: 2014-11-17 Size:
Find out how six street artists are bringing global attention to the last six white rhinos on earth.

Most of these works of art don’t exist anymore. Just like the Kenyan white rhino, it won’t be long before photos will be the only proof that both the artworks and white rhinos ever existed; a sad parallel for the fate in store for these prehistoric behemoths. Last month, Suni, one of only two breeding males in the world died at the age of 34. Only six remain. To help raise awareness we’ve selected six paintings of rhinos by six street artists who have been fighting tooth and nail to bring attention to the plight of the Rhino and stop the poachers.

Hunted for their horns, made from keratin (the same substance in our own fingernails), rhino numbers continue to decrease rapidly driven by the demand for their horns as status symbols in the Far East and their use in archaic Chinese and Vietnamese medicines.

Roa – North West Walls Festival – Belgium

Since the late ’90s, Belgium street artist Roa has been on a one-man mission to share his deep appreciation for what he describes as “unpopular animals,” the creatures who “use humanity to survive.” From the rodents hiding under our floorboards to the rare birds nesting in our rooftops, Roa animates all the creatures he paints, great and small, with an uncanny sense of intimacy and sensitivity, capturing their essence in his signature monochromatic, sketch style. His murals are always larger than life because the issues he deals with, such as poaching and the pollution of animal habitats, are larger than life. For this piece at North West Walls festival in Belgium, Roa uses shipping containers to bring attention to trafficking endangered species and caging animals.

Masai & Hunto – London

Louis Masai (also featured in the top image) is a brilliant artist based in London who has been painting endangered animals on streets around the world for several years. He often combines patterns and fabrics found in the creatures country of origin with his photorealistic paintings of the animals, to serve as a reminder of their roots. Masai says: “If we don’t find a way to protect these animals they will only be memories and stuffed toys…” Above is a collaboration in London with the Italian artist, Hunto, the piece lasted for only a matter of days…

Faith47 – Shanghai

South African street artist, Faith 47 whom we recently interviewed, has a closer relationship to endangered species in the wild than most, having lived in South Africa her whole life. This painting, “The Taming of the Beasts” was done in a derelict building in Shanghai. Her choice of location couldn’t have been more evocative, at once illustrating a sense of the rhino’s destructive power, but also hinting at the uncertain fate that awaits these awesome beasts.

Chemis- Prague

Based in Prague, but originally from Kazakhstan, Chemis paints a rhino smashing it’s way through a wall. The trompe l’oeil effect serves his subject matter well and is reminiscent of the French playwright, Ionesco’s absurdist masterpiece, Rhinoceros.

Otto Schade – London

Otto Schade, who we spoke to last year, has become well known for his unique style of figures and animals composed of unravelling spools. Here the Chilean artist puts the finishing touches to his bandaged rhino in Camden Lock, London.

Pure Evil – London

London-based street artist and gallerist, Pure Evil has set himself the task of creating a work of art on the streets every day this year. While it lasted, this playful piece brought a smile to passers by who saw his smirking rhino with deluded dreams. We can only hope the poor old white rhino won’t end up like the unicorn; a product only of our imagination.

[Editor] 古洋