Power Play – Rhinoceros
(scroll down for description)
1987, acrylic, 36” x 48”
Rhinos are one of the most impressive and massive land mammals, and they do not usually fool around. If they were to play, their only games would be power plays. A charging bull elephant is often bluffing -- not so the rhino. A rhino will make a pretty serious mess out of any vehicle, which has not helped their fight for survival. Rhinos can handle any natural threat but not modern man and his high-power bullets.

Rhinos were never hunted by native African tribes, and even the early white trophy hunters were not a serious threat. In 1970 there were about 20,000 black rhinos in Kenya; today there are fewer than 500. This devastation has been caused by the senseless, frivolous beliefs of people in countries thousands of miles away from the black rhino's domain: in the Orient, rhinoceros horn (consumed in powdered form) is believed to be an aphrodisiac; in the last 15 years, the price of a kilo of rhino horn has risen from $35 to $500. In North Yemen, to be considered a virile young man requires owning a dagger with a handle made of rhinoceros horn; such a dagger now costs more than $15,000.

To keep this magnificent beast from extinction, we need a global power play to abolish rhino poaching and the money that supports it. I painted Power Play to raise funds to abolish illegal rhino horn trade and to save this 70-million-year-old species from extinction.