Rhino Residency Initiative by Rhino Disharmony
Rhino Disharmony is a foundation created by Motswari’s owners Marion and Fabrice. A brutal poaching incident in 2014 was the catalyst to them feeling that they had to do their bit to stop the ruthless killing of these gentle giants and force a change in behaviour in Asia.
Rhino Disharmony is a movement to create a global voice against rhino poaching using art in all its forms – including painting, sculpture, music, writing, photography and any other artistic expression. Art speaks, art can transcend cultural boundaries and language barriers, art can reach people and communicate in a very different and sometimes more powerful way than words. With this in mind, Marion and Fabrice set about finding “Ambassadors” to help launch Rhino Disharmony and its purpose around the world. The first ever Ambassador was Tian Jiang – a Chinese concert pianist and composer with a passion for wildlife like no other. Tian has a massive following in the Orient and that in itself was an ideal start, offering the ability to reach the population that are driving the demand for rhino horn and the opportunity to change their perspective while educating them to behave differently in the future to help save the rhino in Africa. Since Tian, Zolani Mahola, Chad Cocking, Friederike Von Stackelberg, Zapiro, Andre van der Merwe, Nina and Julia Meise, Beezy Bailey, Gloria Campaner, Guy Walter, Adi Besmaia, Philippe Marinig and Charles and Ashleigh Moore have joined as Rhino Disharmony Ambassadors, helping to get the word out about the rhino poaching crisis.
This June, Rhino Disharmony launched their Rhino Residency initiative, which encourages the participation of artists to use their voice to reach fans and the informed public about the battle against poaching in Africa. The residency is based at Motswari Private Game Reserve, can last between 7 to 10 days, where candidates operate out of a purpose-built studio which has massive sliding doors opening onto the veld. An inspirational space for anyone to create, whether it be painting, composing, sculpting or writing, it’s a magical environment to immerse yourself in while you work.
The first Rhino Resident was the renowned South African Fine Artist, Vanessa Berlein from Cape Town. Vanessa’s work is primarily concerned with portraying, capturing and exploring human emotional response, to one another, and to the landscape we inhabit. She sets out to capture iconic qualities she recognises within the character of subjects, and the fragility and beauty that exists within humanity and the landscape. Vanessa said about this opportunity,
When Marion Geiger-Orengo extended the invitation to me to participate in the Rhino Residency, I jumped at the chance. Not only would it give me a chance to really consider the plight of rhinos in our world and especially the horrors of poaching in our country, but I would have the chance to return to a part of our country close to where I grew up and work in a fabulous studio surrounded by nature for 10 days. I truly feel blessed to have been given the chance.Vanessa
The landscapes she painted were done using references from photos taken while on game drives at Motswari. Originally the idea was to incorporate rhinos into the paintings, but it seemed eventually more apt that the landscapes should be void of them as soon, if the culling of these giants is not stopped, there will be none left. The title for the works is “Once upon a time…”, for she imagines, there will come a time in the not too distant future, when stories of the magnificent rhinoceros will be a fairy-tale to the next generation.
As the Residency came to an end, Vanessa told us “The residency has given me opportunity to produce work for a cause that is one worth fighting for, a cause that everyone should be made aware of. The extinction of animal species in our lifetime has escalated grossly, and is all due to the greed of humanity – we must do everything in our power as individuals to put a stop to it. It is about raising awareness any way we can.”
Rhino Disharmony is driven to change the perception about the use of rhino horn and how it is fast tracking this species to extinction. We want to stop the demand for rhino horn by educating the next generation through any means possible. Artists with followers and a presence in Asia can offer Rhino Disharmony the reach into the target market we need, to get the message out that only rhinos need their horn.
If you are interested in becoming a Rhino Residency Candidate please get in touch with us via the Rhino Disharmony Facebook page or Instagram account @rhinodisharmony.