A creative way to help the Asian Elephants: Elephant Parade Exhibition
India and Thailand share a lot in common right from ancient maritime trade to shared mythology in Ramayana. Just like India, Thailand is also home to the last few thousand surviving wild Asian Elephants that are very distinct from their bigger cousins found in Africa. No wonder that Ganesha our Elephant headed god is worshiped in both the countries.
While staying at Anantara Riverside Resort in Bangkok, I noticed this beautiful golden elephant painted with Buddha all over it.
I initially thought it to be just another decoration in the lobby of the hotel. But later I discovered many such elephants big and small sprinkled across the hotel. Some were painted like a tiger, other with flowers, some others with abstract designs and one complete with a dress like a little boy, while on the entry of the hotel duly parked was one made like a TUK-TUK ready to take you on a tour of Bangkok.
But when I noticed this one below who stole my heart with his dreamy eyes that the 007 in me decided to investigate and find out what the pachyderms in their painted avatar are up to in the heart of Bangkok. I was guided to a small board that gave the beautiful story of these elephants.
These awesome elephants were part of Elephant Parade, world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues. Created by artists and celebrities, each Elephant Parade statue is a unique art piece. The life-sized baby elephant statues are exhibited in international cities. After each exhibition, a number of Elephant Parade statues are auctioned by a renowned auction house. Limited edition handcrafted replicas and a select range of products are created from the exhibition elephants. A part of the profit and proceeds are donated to Asian Elephant Foundation.
This awesome parade was started by father and son team of Marc and Mike Spits in 2006.
Whilst on holiday In Thailand, Marc met a baby elephant named Mosha, who had lost her leg after stepping on a landmine. Mosha inspired Marc and Mike to create Elephant Parade, there idea was to start something sustainable that will stand on its own feet, be profitable so that the proceeds can be used to help conservation of Asian elephants as well as helping those injured in accidents like Mosha.
The Elephant parade did the first exhibition in 2007 in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and since then has spread across the globe. Artists, celebrities, and designers from across the world have come forward to support the idea. I am sure names like Bryan Adams, Goldie Hawn, Katy Perry, Richard Branson, Tommy Hilfiger, Elizabeth Hurley and many others will sure get your attention, who support the Elephant Parade.
What I loved about the whole idea was that it is not a passive charity, Elephant Parade seeks your active participation in the whole process, you can actually paint your own elephant, come up with a design and participate in a competition and if you win you get to fly to Bangkok and participate in the 2015 exhibition there. Not just that you get to stay at Anantara Riverside Resort for 3 days and reveal your design in a celebrity party.
I totally fell in love with the idea but due to the paucity of time as by the time I did my research I was on the last day of my trip, I hurriedly clicked some pictures from my cell phone. Not to play favorites but I personally liked this one that depicts the experiences of Amazing Thailand.
I am working on more posts about Amazing Thailand on an invitation of TAT New Delhi.
All pictures in this post are clicked by Sony Xperia Z3 Compact cell phone
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