Don’t be alarmed if you happen to stumble onto a pack of elephants when you’re out and about around town.
However the elephants in question are not your typical giant jungle beasts but are in fact works of art. After a successful showing in Rotterdam, Milan and London, the Elephant Parade makes its way to Singapore.
162 life sized replicas of the pachyderms will be exhibited in one of Singapore’s largest open air art exhibitions. The elephants at Elephant Parade Singapore, the first outside Europe, are painted by the likes of artists, designers and celebrities such as India’s Ketna Patel, Indonesia’s Christine Ay Tjoe, Philippine artist Ben Cabrera, Dick Lee, former president Mr. S.R. Nathan and even people like Joss Stone, Leona Lewis and Harry Potter star Rupert Grint.
Elephant Parade Singapore 2011 will run from November 11 to January 6, 2012. Elephant Parade was founded in 2006 by father-and-son team Marc and Mike Spits after the older Mr. Spits encountered two injured elephants in Thailand.
He reached out to artists and started the Elephant Parade, which organized its first exhibition in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 2007. It has since held eight other exhibitions and raised about four million Euros ($5.4 million) for charity. Although it is not a charity, Elephant Parade is one of the largest contributors to The Asian Elephant Foundation.
Artist Ben Cabrera with his elephant, "Santan". His elephant addresses the fact that human overpopulation is one of the main reasons why elephants are being eased out of their natural habitats.
“The aim of this project is raise money to help the conservation of the Asian elephant as well as bringing beautiful works of art on to the streets. It is crucial that we raise awareness of this issue as there are only an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild around Asia,” says Mike Spits, co-founder of Elephant Parade.
You can find the baby-size elephant statues in places such as along Orchard Road, Fort Canning Park, Esplanade and VivoCity amongst others. 25 elephant statues including one of Mosha, the elephant that inspired Marc Spits on embarking this project are exhibited at the Singapore Zoo.
“We are honoured to be part of the Elephant Parade. It is really a unique and creative concept that marries art and conversation which in turn helps to heighten awareness. It is also part of our continuing efforts of animal conservation,” says Claire Chiang, chairman of Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Ambassador of Elephant Parade Singapore 2011.
There will also be painting workshops and you can buy an art box with materials for you to customize your own elephant. A limited number of miniature replicas will be sold online and at Tangs department stores for between $15-$5,000. Roughly a third of Elephant Parade’s license income will go to the Asian Elephant Foundation.
On January 12-14, 2012, Sotheby’s will auction off the statues and donate part of the proceeds to the Asian Elephant Foundation and the conservation fund of the Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The funds will pay for elephant hospitals and land for elephants to roam in the wild.