Singapore Botanic Gardens where all 162 elephants congregate for 3 days from 8-11/1/2012.
Have you heard of The Elephant Parade?
An outdoor exhibition of huge elephant statues, each one uniquely designed by a local or international artist, this event is touted as the largest of its kind. The Elephant Parade seeks to raise awareness of the plight of Asian elephants and is dedicated to the conservation of this dwindling specie. At the end of each exhibition, the artwork are auctioned off with parts of the proceeds donated to The Asian Elephants Foundation. I was really excited when I found out that the Parade was coming to Singapore, a 1st time in Asia!
Ming Kwan Nakorn Ping Jharatpong at National Museum Singapore.
Between 11 November 2011 to 11 January 2012, 162 art elephants were scattered around Singapore, adding welcomed colours and interest to my country. It culminated in the big herding of all the statues at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I saw a few over the months and on Sunday, we ran to the Botanic Gardens (our regular weekly runs) just to meet all of them.
Ming Kwan Nakorn Ping Jharatpong at National Museum Singapore
There were many elephants with an Indian/ Hindu / Buddhist theme. This one was one of the more elaborately decorated piece by a Thai artist called Jharatpong. Using many Asian Hindu and Buddhist elements like deities, temple architecture and landscape, Jharatpong created a sparkling and colorful elephant with acrylic oil and gold leaf.
Miss India by Nut Thamrongpittayanan
This artist designed 3 elephants, Miss China, Miss Malaysia and Miss India. Miss India wears a sheer veil over her face.
Haathi Mere Saathi by Farhad Hussain
This piece was named after an Indian movie that was a huge hit in the '70s. The title means Elephant, My Partner and is also the name of its theme song. I know because it was my housemate, Fai's favourite Hindi song. Underlining this piece of work is the theme of the movie and how the smiles and apparent joviality of the characters belie the tragic life of the elephant. The movie was about an orphan, Raju who was saved by 4 elephants, in particular Ramu, the one he became closest with, from a leopard. They became street performers and lived a hard life. In time, Raju became wealthy and could afford his own zoo where he kept other animals together with his 4 elephants. When he got married and a child was born, his wife made him choose between the animals or the family as she feared the child being hurt by them. When Raju chose his life long friends over his family, Ramu decided to bring the estranged couple together but eventually sacrificed his life in doing so.
Precious by Ahmad Zakii Anwar at National Museum Singapore
The artist associates the endangered status of the elephants with something as precious and fragile as Chinese porcelain.
I was the most amused by this one
Bula by Arturo Sanchez Jr. at National Museum, Singapore
but the most fascinated with this one with the lights.
Delightful Durians by Nat Posila & Ed Robinson
The crowd's favourite
Not Forgotten by Michael Han & Kiat
My favourite. It's a rusty elephant and this is the artists' statement:
This elephant rests uneasily in a decaying state as concrete jungles overtake its natural environment – in the process, overtaking its form as its expression depicts the tension between our world and theirs.
Damaged Dumbo by Renato L. Barja Jr
while this one was the favourite of my 3 year old nephew, Xander. He called it "the sad elephant."
The Naughty and the Elephant - Carrie Chau
There he was standing next to a piece aptly titled The Naughty and the Elephant. His dad told me he loved the parade so much that he didn't want to go home. His mum thought maybe he wanted to live with the elephants instead.
Like my nephew, I love the elephants and the Parade but I love the spirit behind it even more. From how the parade started (a father and son team going from door to door with paper mache sample elephants only to be rejected again and again) to the saving of this endangered specie, I am inspired and reminded that no dreams are too big, no efforts too small, to always believe and when we do, to never give up.