Gillie and Marc, referred to by the media as “the world’s most loving artists,” are extraordinary public artists who have worked side-by-side for over 25-years to create art as one. The artists first met on a film shoot in Hong Kong…then 7-days later ran away to Nepal to get married on the foothills of Mount Everest.
Gillie and Marc’s highly coveted private and public artworks can be found spreading the message of love and conservation in major galleries and cities around the world, including New York, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney and more! They’re Archibald Prize Finalists and won the Chianciano Biennale in Italy, among other notable awards and accolades.
The husband and wife artists are passionate eco-warriors, with a deep respect for the close spiritual bond between humans and animals. Gillie, who is half Dutch and half Indian, grew up in Zambia where she discovered her love for art by drawing pencil sketches of the captivating wildlife around her. Tragically, when she was only a child, an elephant was brutally shot before her eyes. This had a profound impact on the artist, who vowed to dedicate her life and work to protecting Earth’s innocent animals. Marc grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and is an Austrian Jew who comes from a family of holocaust survivors. In his twenties, he traveled to Tanzania to see the work being conducted by Jane Goodall with chimpanzees. Through this experience, he gained a deep appreciation for the ways all living things are interconnected, and the importance of protecting the balance of our natural surroundings.
The artists are best known for their beloved characters, Rabbitwoman and Dogman, who tell the autobiographical tale of two opposites coming together to become best friends and soul mates. As unlikely animal kingdom companions, the Rabbit and the Dog stand for diversity and acceptance through love. Gillie and Marc believe art is a powerful platform for change. Their art is multi-disciplinary, paying homage to the importance of togetherness, as well as the magnificence of the natural world, and the necessity of preserving it – for we are it, and it is us.
Gillie and Marc have a special affinity for rhinos, which took off during a project they worked on in 2012. That year, four rhinos mysteriously died in Taronga’s Western Plain Zoo in Dubbo, including a mother and her calf. The artists were heartbroken and moved to action; they wanted to create an artwork in their memory, while also raising awareness about the need for rhino conservation. Using images of the animals, Gillie and Marc sculpted the black rhino mother and calf, Bakhita and Kufara, for installation at the Visitor Information Centre, the Dubbo Regional Airport, and the front of the Zoo.
The more they learned about rhinos through their work, the more their love grew. In 2014, Gillie and Marc were invited by Federation Square in Melbourne to create an artwork for their Creative Program. A year earlier, 700 black rhinos had been slaughtered in Africa, making it the bloodiest year for poaching. The artists decided to use their sculpture as a platform to give a voice to the voiceless. They created a remarkably high-tech installation that brought the call of the wild to the city. It featured three magnificent life-sized rhino sculptures that invited the public to be part of their run for freedom.
Continuing on their mission to save rhinos, in 2016, the artists created Shandu, the largest rhino sculpture in the world for the famous ‘Sculpture by the Sea’, winning Australia’s coveted Allen’s People’s Choice and Kid’s Choice awards. Then a year later, they traveled to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where they met the last three Northern White Rhinos on Earth. They spent every day of the trip getting close to them to hug them, watch them and get to know their kind and gentle natures. Gillie and Marc were appalled to learn about how humans led this magnificent species to imminent extinction, after previously roaming the planet for millions of years. This trip passionately fueled the husband and wife’s most immense project of their careers to date. In March 2018 they beat their own record with the installation of The Last Three in Astor Place, New York City. At 17-feet tall, it’s now the tallest bronze rhino sculpture on the planet, and features the last three Northern White Rhinos – Sudan, Najin and Fatu.
The piece is not just a powerful memorial and magnificent work of art; it’s also a catalyst for action. The Last Three is aligned with multiple initiatives aimed at spreading awareness, fueling donations, and working with authoritative bodies to effect real change against poaching. Gillie and Marc used the trajectory of their sculpture’s installation to motivate petition signatures, which they used to put pressure on the government of Vietnam to eradicate rhino trafficking in their country. Through their art, Gillie and Marc aim to transform passive audiences into passionate advocates for rhino conservation.
The artists’ mission is to use their work as a platform to continue spreading awareness about endangerment, which will ultimately lead to change and save species from extinction.