Published 22 September 2016


Status through art not wildlife

Hanoi, Viet Nam, 22nd September 2016—80 influential guests from the public and private sector attended a World Rhino Day art event opening in Hanoi that promotes zero-tolerance towards illegal wildlife consumption and provides an alternative way to affirm prestige.

TRAFFIC and DomDom - the Hub For Experimental Music & Art are holding a three-day event titled “Art & Your Social Status” to show entrepreneurs and local communities that art is a powerful and responsible way to demonstrate social status. The three-day is packed with exciting activities and is expected to attract more than 900 visitors.

Some Vietnamese are motivated to consume illegally traded and endangered wildlife in the belief it confers status, but around the world it is widely acknowledged that art is a real symbol to affirm ones social status and wealth

Madelon Willemsen, Head of TRAFFIC in Viet Nam

“This art exhibition is part of TRAFFIC’s strategy to reduce the demand for endangered wildlife such as rhino horn by promoting appreciation of beautiful artwork as a means to promote the wealth and sophistication of the influential and successful members of Vietnamese society.” 

During the opening of the Art exhibition, guests will enjoy cocktails, canapés, and live music while meeting featured artists and networking with other esteemed individuals.  Curators will guide the invited guests through the exhibit art pieces and provide information on how people can build up an art portfolio that displays wealth and status and at the same can provide the opportunity for a sound investment. 

A silent auction will be held for the pieces on display throughout the three days. The second day will feature award-winning movies from Freeland’s Wildfest 2015. Marcus Manh Cuong Vu, the campaign manager of Wildfest 2015, will host a chat show. The third day of the exhibition will end with the announcement of the silent auction winners and a special orchestral performance from the Hanoi New Music Ensemble. 

“DomDom strives to be an engine that drives experimental and contemporary art and music in Viet Nam. We want our artists and audience to be independent, progressive thinkers. So, we are excited to join TRAFFIC in hosting an exhibition that uses art to promote a zero-tolerance to endangered wildlife consumption,” said Ms Tran Kim Ngoc, the Director of DomDom.

Through research on consumer behaviour, TRAFFIC has identified how “conspicuous consumption” of threatened wildlife parts, such as rhino horn, is used in an attempt to confer social status. However, it is illegal under international and national laws and the demand for the products in Viet Nam and Asia is driving a poaching crisis in Africa and threatens species like the rhinoceros with extinction.