A very close friend of mine, while on a stroll in Southampton’s town center and nearby parks, was pleasantly surprised by Marwell Wildlife’s clever initiative – rhino sculptures, placed all around the city, forming a fun and artsy trail. Go! Rhinos is a world-class, community based, mass public art exhibition brought to the streets and parks of the beautiful Southampton. The art event is taking place throughout most of the summer – from 13 July – 22 September. You can encounter over 100 decorated rhino sculptures, which form a spectacular walking trail.
The idea behind this event is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Marwell Wildlife, while in the meantime showcasing the wealth of artistic talent in the area. The 10 week exhibition aims to highlight the significant conservation threat facing wild rhinos and how the Southampton business community can make a difference.
Additional benefits of this initiative is that it engenders civic pride, stimulates the local economy and creates a 10 week fun event for all. The fact that Go! Rhinos provides a medium for the more artistic people to shine, explore their ideas and bring them to life, using a rhino sculptured canvas, makes it all the better.
Over the last few months local artists, schools and community groups have been busy decorating a mix of adult and baby rhinos in the public painting space in the Marlands Shopping Centre before they were released into the city in July. They have done a wonderful job with the sculptures and you can definitely see that they have put their hearts into their work.
Councillor Matt Tucker, the council’s cabinet member for Leisure and Economic Development, said:
“Over the coming months we anticipate thousands of residents and visitors will come into the city centre to follow this exciting trail of rhino sculptures, crafted by talented local people. As usual, Southampton’s summer events calendar is full and we’re confident that Go! Rhinos will add to the buzz.”
And so it does, because the rhino trail doesn’t lack interest from both tourists and local residents. After the end of the summer event, the rhino sculptures will be auctioned in order to help raise money for the benefit of three local charities – Marwell Wildlife, The Rose Road Association and Wessex Heartbeat’s High 5 Appeal.
In my humble opinion, Go! Rhinos is one of those initiatives that should inspire and pave the way for similar fundraising/artistic pursuits that could bring tons of benefits to both the community, the residents and the local charities at the same time. Hopefully, this will not be the last time we see these magnificent pieces of art 😉
Here is a short video, covering the artistic process of decorating the sculptures:
And here are some more pics of the rhinos. Enjoy!
If you’d like to get some more information about Go! Rhinos you can visit: