Art activities discourage wildlife consumption

In honour of World Rhino Day, a series of art activities will be held by TRAFFIC – the wildlife trade monitoring network – and Dom Dom – the hub for experimental music and art.

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The event will take place on the third floor of The Old Quarter Culture Exchange Centre at 50 Dao Duy Tu Street, Hoan Kiem District, on September 22-24.

The Art & Your Social Status programme encourages the community not to compromise on the illegal trading and consumption of wildlife. It is also hopes to change corporate and public demonstrations of social status via its message: "Stop using rhino’s horns, and demonstrate social status by means of arts".

The event will kick off with an exhibition of contemporary arts featuring works of high aesthetic, cultural and economic values by renowned contemporary Vietnamese artists, including Le Quang Ha, Phan Cam Thuong, Nguyen Duc Hanh, Nguyen Huu Su, Trieu Minh Hai and Nguyen The Son.

Exhibited works will be auctioned during the programme to contribute to TRAFFIC campaigns.

A screening of works by WildFest Film Competition finalists will follow on the second day.

The announcement of auction winners and Endless Thread - a concert showcasing compositions by contemporary Vietnamese composers, plus world music, performed by the Hanoi New Music Ensemble - will close Art & Your Social Status on September 24.

Guests will be able to meet and to attend discussions by curator Nguyen Manh Cuong, artists, guest speakers, directors and film crew. Enterprises, artists and the public will also have a chance to commit to not compromising on wildlife crimes and to reducing the demand for wild animal and plant consumption in Vietnam.

Art & Your Social Status is expected to attract over 900 guests and 80 invitees, including renowned artists, speakers and representatives of state administrative organisations, foreign embassies based in Vietnam, civilian organisations and enterprises.

Madelon Willemsen, head of TRAFFIC’s Vietnam office, said many Vietnamese use wild animals and plants as a means to demonstrate their social status, which is better expressed through contemplating and possessing art and through public works.

Willemsen said the programme is designed to change the behaviours associated with illegal wildlife consumption and to reduce the demand for wildlife in Vietnam. At the same time, TRAFFIC hopes to receive support and commitment from influential enterprises and businessmen in the fight against wildlife crimes and against using wildlife to demonstrate social status.

“We look forward to working with artists and audiences with independent thinking and a progressive outlook,” says Tran Kim Ngoc, the General Director of Dom Dom. “We launched this programme with TRAFFIC to spread the message of using arts to promote responsible behaviour to society and wildlife, including wildlife protection.”

According to TRAFFIC research on consumer behaviour, wildlife is consumed in Vietnam to demonstrate social status. But such consumption is illegal and the demand for wildlife in Vietnam and Asia is contributing to the increase in illegal wildlife hunting in Africa.

Dom Dom was created in 2012. It was the first independent interdisciplinary centre dedicated to the Vietnamese experimental music, its advancement, and its interdisciplinary collaborations with other arts forms.

The centre also developed the Hanoi New Music Ensemble to bring Vietnamese and international contemporary music to the Vietnamese public.

TRAFFIC is the leading non-governmental organisation working globally on issues related to the trade in wild animals and plants in the context of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

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