AN OFFER to create three sculptures of a rhino cow and calf for Taronga Western Plains Zoo and the Dubbo City Council were generated by the death of four white rhinos at the zoo earlier this year.
Paddington, Sydney sculptors and artists Gillie and Marc Schattner are international award-winning artists and Archibald Prize finalists and behind the generous offer to the city.
“We heard about the mysterious deaths including the mother and calf,” Ms Schattner said.
“Marc and I are both animal lovers.
“I grew up in Africa and Marc lived there in his early 20s and we have a tremendous love for rhinos,” she said.
She said they first approached the zoo with the offer of one bronze statue and two fibreglass sculptures as a tribute to the lost rhinos.
“We’re so happy to do this,” she said.
“Every animal (sculpture) will be a memento to the rhinos that were lost. It will be quite powerful.
“We’re excited and happy to do this, but we’re still curious about the deaths. It’s quite a mystery.”
She said the bronze sculpture had the capacity to last “thousands of years” and would provide an important tourist attraction.
Ms Schattner said the maquette (model) of the bronze sculpture would be created in their Paddington studio and then sent oversea to be cast.
She said the bronze rhino would potentially weigh more than 1000 kilograms as it would be lifesize.
“It will bring a lot of people to visit Dubbo to have their photo taken with the sculptures,” Ms Schattner said.
Councillor Tina Reynolds put a motion to Monday evening’s council meeting to have an amendment calling for Dubbo-based sculptors to tender for the job of creating three rhino sculptures.
However none of the other councillors would second her motion.