Hornucopia : Horn of Plenty
Being in nature is no longer second nature. We no longer exist in and experience the natural world in a way that shows our direct dependency on it’s health and well being. This physical disconnection has a profound effect on how we value the other flora and fauna inhabitants of our planet. Fragile ecosystems and vulnerable species are often in direct conflict with short-term economic opportunities.
In South Africa, a daily life and death battle is being fought between wildlife rangers and animal poachers. Rangers are committed to the protection and conservation of the rhino population, while the poaching syndicates are invested in the species extinction. The exponential growth of poaching is astonishing. In 2007, 13 rhinos were lost to poachers. Due to market demand for rhino horn in Vietnam, China and Yemen the number of annual deaths grew to 1215 in just 7 years time. The population of rhino in all of Africa now numbers less than 20,000. With 93% of Africa’s rhino population living in South Africa, South Africa is the epicenter of this complex conflict.
As there is no legal trade in Rhino horn, all trade is done on the black market through illicit means. With high demand and limited supply the value of rhino horn is higher than that of gold and platinum, and heroine and cocaine. The profit potential of rhino horn has replaced the small local poaching rings with sophisticated international cartels. If a rhino is poached in iMfolozi, the horn will be in Mozambique in less than 2 hours and on the market in Southeast Asia in 24 hours.
It is often said that the job of an artist is to point out the problems of one’s time. As a socially engaged activist artist I believe the role of an artist is greater than that and that art can make a lasting impact on an individual, a community and the greater world.
I have a project website dedicated to Project Thorn. To learn more about the project please visit www.projectthorn.com