I SHOT THE LAST RHINO
PUBLIC SPACE INSTALLATION
AT YANKOSE, ISTANBUL
JULY 2020 - JANUARY 2021
Ali Cabbar’s urban-space installation, “I Shot the Last Rhino,” is a requiem to wildlife that has been destroyed by human agency. The project, specially created for Yanköşe, a nonprofit contemporary art platform in Istanbul, consists of 11 canvases of animal heads on 20-meter-high walls in one of the busiest streets along the Bosporus. Envisioned as a monument to all magnificent animals facing extinction, the work highlights the destruction of wildlife through the concept of a hunter’s game room.
Ali Cabbar arranges the architecturally challenging walls of Yanköşe like a trophy room and names his work for one of the three-meter portraits on the wall; that of the Northern White Rhinoceros which became extinct in 2018 because of illegal hunting for their horns. The work is inspired by –some fake, some true– news of wild animals taking over cities during the covid-19 confinement and by massive bushfires at the end of last year in Australia that killed a record number of animals.
Today, humans are hurting the well-being of our planet by driving a million species of animals and plants into extinction and rapidly destroying the ecosystems that they and other species need. Highlighting the fact that humans are themselves the victims of their destructive behavior, Ali Cabbar includes his own mounted head on the wall with the other animals.
Like the artist’s previous project “Monster” on genetically modified food, “I Shot the Last Rhino” testifies to the effects of the Anthropocene epoch in which human activities dominate the planetary machinery, and seeks to persuade the viewer to reconsider the human-nature relationship in light of a global health crisis.