Local artists have been given an opportunity to do life size rhino sculptures that will be placed at popular places around the country. One of the first such sculptures was unveiled at Molapo Piazza recently. Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Trust said this comes after they realised that many people were not able to see the life ones because of not being able to go to the zoos or to the wild where can see them. They have realised that some people can actually appreciate the sculptures that look like the real rhinos and with the same size. The life-size sculptures are expected to pop out in key locations across the country as a symbol of the greater message from the trust for the need of the rhino conservation. The initiation comes after BIHL Trust's recent donation of P100 000 to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust (KRST) towards ear notching and DNA sampling of rhinos in the sanctuary. “Following our donation towards KRST, we wanted to do something that would contribute towards increasing awareness around this conservation effort,” said Tebogo Keepetsoe, BIHL Trust Administrator. She said unless such topics were made central part of the public consciousness and conversation, it becomes all too easy to overlook what a vital matter this is.
She said with this project, they aim to shed greater light on the threats to the beautiful creature, whilst at the same time, working as a collective to protect it. Local artists have already made a total of three fibreglass sculptures which BIHL Trust hopes will help spark greater debate and action in the fight for rhino protection. These were developed by artist Moemedi Piet at Thapong Visual Arts in Gaborone and they have already made their way to their new homes with the other one already at a museum in Maun, and others at Civic Centre gardens in Francistown and Molapo Piazza in Gaborone. Keepetsoe said this has also helped them in contributing towards the growth and development of local artists, a space which they are truly passionate about. Though Piet took part in making the sculptures of the rhinos, local artists Arone Edward, Christopher Mokgeledi and Bolane Mazebedi will then start decorating the sculptures where each artist will have the platform to customise them and show their creativity. Currently they are just blank canvases. Veteran visual artist Mokgeledi will be the one decorating the one at Molapo Piazza and aims to show his vast skill of the paint brush. Mokgeledi said he will remarkably use his skill to make the rhino very attractive. “I haven’t started working on it yet. I have given them the sketches this week to see which one they will approve and then I will start working on it,” he said, revealing that he will use paint, and if they so let him he can also use acrylic.