I SHOT THE LAST RHINO
PUBLIC SPACE INSTALLATION
AT YANKOSE, ISTANBUL
JULY 2020 - JANUARY 2021
Ali Cabbar's “I Shot the Last Rhino” is a new generation memorial to wildlife that has been destroyed through human agency. The site-specific project realised in urban space for Yanköşe, a non-profit contemporary art platform in Istanbul, consists of eleven canvases of animal heads displayed on 20-meter high walls in one of the busiest streets along the Bosphorus. Envisioned as a monument to all magnificent animals facing extinction, the work highlights the human destruction of wildlife through the concept of a hunter’s game room.
Ali Cabbar arranges the architecturally challenging inverted walls of Yanköşe like a trophy room, and names his work after one of the three-meter portraits on the wall; that of the Northern White Rhinoceros which became extinct in 2018 due to illegal hunting for their horns. The work is inspired by –some fake, some true– news of wild animals taking over the cities during COVID-19 confinement, and by series of massive bushfires that started at the end of last year in Australia and killed a record number of animals.
Today humans are threatening 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 future victims of their destructive behavior, Ali Cabbar includes his own mounted head on the wall, too.
Like the artist’s previous project “Monster” on genetically modified food, “I Shot the Last Rhino”, is a testament to the effects of the Anthropocene, the new geologic era in which human activities dominate the planetary machinery, and it seeks to persuade the viewer to reconsider the human-nature relationship in the light of a global health crisis.