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Artist to transport Mzansi into the wild to save the Pangolin, the most trafficked animal in the world

Norman Cloete

30 Apr 2022

Johannesburg - Fresh off the back of his wildly successful Cape Town debut, new kid on the block Robbie Rorich – in collaboration with social impact agency The Good Machine – is set to wow Jozi art lovers with a powerful new exhibition that will transcend its audience into the wild.

Rorich’s ocean-inspired collection fetched nearly a million rand in Cape Town, with a large portion of that donated to the Sea Change Project, to aid the ongoing work in promoting and protecting the Great African sea forest. Now, in a carefully curated journey in the heart of the City of Gold, the talented young sculptor will transport Mzansi into the wilderness, to a place “where we connect with the human spirit and reawaken our souls”.

The Good Machine’s Gita Carroll said the exhibition, with the pangolin as its pinnacle, is about curating a collective connection.

“An experience to deeply re-wild and unleash our hearts, in our way. Our human tendency to try and make sense of everything often blocks us from fully feeling, speaking and hearing from the heart,” she said.

At the centre of this work is the pangolin – the most trafficked animal in the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), all eight pangolin species are protected under national and international laws, and two are listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

33 life-sized pangolins will be cast – of which a significant portion of the proceeds from each pangolin sold will go towards pangolin protection.

Pangolin shepherd at Zululand Conservation Trust, Donald Davis said: “When we were approved as a release site for rescued pangolins, we jumped at the opportunity to help the most trafficked mammal on the planet, and we were thrilled that we can help make a difference. We did not realise that this would be the most challenging and costly, yet most rewarding conservation project that we have taken on to date.”

Rorich said: “Spending time with the pangolin and other animals has brought perspective and clarity to our mission – to create a platform where art can speak for, and bring consciousness to the wild in and around us”.

The exhibition will run from May 6 to 8 at Victoria Yards, Johannesburg, and May 13 to 15 at Irene Country Estate, Pretoria. Also on display and available to purchase at the event will be Rorich’s sea otter. Film director James Cameron recently purchased an otter from Rorich, and proceeds of these sales also go to The Good Machine’s partner charities.

The Saturday Star

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