The approximately 22,000 people who visit Forest City's MetroTech Center office campus in downtown Brooklyn each weekday will now be greeted by a majestic art installation aimed at inspiring and educating visitors about wildlife conservation.
"The Last Three," an iconic 17-foot-tall bronze sculpture depicting the last three northern white rhinos –-Najin, Fatu & Sudan – created by renowned public artists Gillie and Marc, is on display at MetroTech Commons.
"Forest City is honored to showcase 'The Last Three' at MetroTech Center," said John Bowen, senior vice president, property management, Forest City New York. "Our partnership with Gillie and Marc reinforces our commitment to the arts and culture, providing a public space for Brooklynites to gather and learn together, and we hope everyone takes advantage to come view the sculpture and enjoy its beauty and playfulness, while also learning about this important cause."
In March 2018, the last male northern white rhino, Sudan, died, making the last three the last two. For now, the last three northern white rhinos stand together only in sculpture form, yet their message is of hope rather than sadness.
"We hope visitors to the sculpture will engage with our representation of this gentle species and connect with the deeper message which is one of inspiration and change," said Gillie Schattner.
Originally created to spread awareness for the plight of this magnificent animal, 'The Last Three' now pays tribute to the legacy of these amazing creatures and provides hope to endangered species all over the world.
"Living in urban environments, it is easy to ignore that rhinos are being slaughtered for their horns, which are then passed through to the illegal rhino horn trade and sold as medicine in countries such as Vietnam," said Marc Schattner. "Powdered rhino horn has no medical benefits, but is the reason the northern white rhino is now a functionally extinct species."
The mission started one year ago when Gillie and Marc traveled to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya to visit the northern white rhinos. It was an experience that shook them to the core, and the artists returned home vowing to dedicate the rest of their lives to protecting rhinos from extinction through their art.
By studying these animals up close, they were able to recreate "The Last Three" not only down to the physical details but with a deeper understanding of the profound feeling experienced while in the presence of these inspiring creatures.
Brooklynites are encouraged to visit and interact with "The Last Three," feel the bronze, take a selfie and hold the rhinos in their arms. Gillie and Marc believe art has the power to connect humans with endangered animals, which is the first step to loving them and caring about their well-being.
The last two northern white rhinos, Najin and Fatu, live at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where they are cared for and protected around the clock.