Artist Creates 1,600 Panda Sculptures, One For Each Remaining Panda

Paulo Grangeon's traveling exhibition
Paulo Grangeon's traveling exhibition "Pandas on Tour." Photo courtesy of Paulo Grangeon and the World Wildlife Fund.

French sculptor Paulo Grangeon has achieved something amazing with his traveling exhibition, “Pandas on Tour.” The project’s 1,600 papier-mâché pandas, which the artist has photographed in front of landmarks in over 20 countries, somehow manage to be both insanely adorable and incredibly depressing.

In fact, the over-the-top cuteness of the embarrassment of pandas (yes, that appears to be the technical term for a group of pandas) is what imbues the piece with such melancholy. As impressive in scope as the work initially appears, Grangeon has only created one statue for every extant panda worldwide. In fact, recent estimates actually peg the panda population at a slightly lower 1,596 bears.

As reported by the Huffington Post, Grangeon began the project in 2008, collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness of the panda’s plight. Their natural habitat threatened (they now only live in a small mountain range in south-central China), pandas have difficulty breeding in captivity, hence the panda-mania surrounding cubs at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC and the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base.

While it’s hard to deny the panda bear’s near-universal appeal, there may actually be a a scientific reason for mankind’s fascination with the creatures.

One of the 1,600 panda sculptures in Paulo Grangeon's traveling exhibition "Pandas on Tour." Photo courtesy of Paulo Grangeon and the World Wildlife Fund.

One of the 1,600 panda sculptures in Paulo Grangeon’s traveling exhibition “Pandas on Tour.” Photo courtesy of Paulo Grangeon and the World Wildlife Fund.

According to a report from the BBC, biology predisposes us to react positively to the panda’s thumb-like digit, which allows it to eat in a human-like fashion, and dark eye patches, which make their eyes seem much larger then they actually are.

Grangeon is not the only one hoping to help save the panda. The Smithsonian’s Giant Panda Conservation Fund is also dedicated to the cause.

See more photos of Grangeon’s “Pandas on Tour” exhibition below.

Paulo Grangeon's traveling exhibition "Pandas on Tour." Photo courtesy of Paulo Grangeon and the World Wildlife Fund.

Paulo Grangeon’s traveling exhibition “Pandas on Tour.” Photo courtesy of Paulo Grangeon and the World Wildlife Fund.

Paulo Grangeon's traveling exhibition "Pandas on Tour." Photo courtesy of Paulo Grangeon and the World Wildlife Fund.

Paulo Grangeon’s traveling exhibition “Pandas on Tour.” Photo courtesy of Paulo Grangeon and the World Wildlife Fund.

Paulo Grangeon's traveling exhibition "Pandas on Tour." Photo courtesy of Paulo Grangeon and the World Wildlife Fund.

Paulo Grangeon’s traveling exhibition “Pandas on Tour.” Photo courtesy of Paulo Grangeon and the World Wildlife Fund.


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