260 Elephants on Parade in London This Bank Holiday Monday

May 1, 2010

LONDON, May 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ –

– With Photos

On Bank Holiday Monday a glorious, colourful herd of “elephants” will
trundle onto the streets of London in an effort to raise GBP2 million toward
the conservation of Asian elephants and UK conservation charities. Nothing to
do with the grey old world of politics – these are elephants, as big as real
life baby elephants, glittering with all the decorative genius that some of
the country’s top artists can supply.

They reflect a different and rather marvelous Britain – all too easily
lost beneath the gloom of the debt cloud and the hurry of everyday life. The
object of the parade is to help raise money for the conservation of Asian
elephants, whose numbers are dwindling even more severely than those of the
African elephant, from 200,000 a century ago to a fifth of that population
now. To raise money, each of the elephants has been sponsored and will be

One of the most popular elephants is likely to be Benjamin Shine’s contribution – so much so that arrangements have already been made for it to
be covered by a 24-hour guard at its location by the Royal Exchange. Shine, a
young artist, has transformed the template into a glossy black taxi, powered
by a solar cell so that a sign lights up at night and its eyes turn into

Another is a white-coloured elephant beside an enormous bronze flower,
also white, by the sculptor Mark Quinn, one of four elephants generously
sponsored by the Indian private equity investor Cyrus Vandrevala and his
heiress wife, Priya. Quinn recently caused controversy by sculpting a nude of
a thalidomide woman for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Rebecca
, the wildlife artist, has created an elegant elephant, painted with
flora and fauna such as palm trees and tigers. Rina Banerjee, an Indian
artist working in New York, has plastered her elephant, Argus-like, with
dozens of eyes. Peter Beard, artistic photographer and conservationist, has
created one of the most iconic elephants entitled Mammouth Metaphor.

Also from the subcontinent, twenty-twenty cricket star Lalit Modi has
taken a herd of eight elephants which will be placed around Trafalgar Square.
Elephants will stand guard over restaurants such as Scotts and the Ivy,
thanks to the involvement of restaurateur Richard Caring. One of the most
imaginative projects is sponsored by Rowan and Sunetra Atkinson, decorated by
underprivileged children being helped by the Kids Company, of which Sunetra
is a trustee. Other sponsors have given in kind. Farrow and Ball, for
example, have provided GBP50,000‘s worth of paint. Transporting the elephants
to and from studios has fallen to Eco Movers, a young company with a fleet of
12 electric removal vans. These vans will be responsible for taking the
elephants to their sites on which they will be displayed in the course of
Sunday night: the electric vehicles ensuring that this happens in silence.

While elephants have paraded in Holland and cows – 100 of them – in
London before now, this is Britain’s first Elephant Parade. Hearing about the
Dutch parades – the brain child of father and son, Mike and Marc Spits, who
had been moved by encountering a baby elephant in Thailand called Moscha
whose leg had been blown off – Mark Shand immediately seized on the idea for
his charity, the Elephant Family. Brother of the Duchess of Cornwall, Shand
developed a passion for India after leaving Milton Abbey School when he
stopped off in India en route to Australia. In 1988, he received a book
commission to travel across India on an elephant. It was published as My
Travels on an Elephant in 1991. The experience of the 1000km journey awoke
Shand to the Asian elephant’s plight. In 2002 he founded the Elephant Family
to support herds of Asian elephants in the wild.

So go out onto the streets of the metropolis and you will find elephants
in Berkeley Square, Hanover Square, South Audley Street; in Notting Hill, on
the South Bank; in Greenwich Market and around St Paul’s. Each will irradiate
their hard-edged London surroundings with a sense of caprice and joie de
vivre. The strangeness of the habitat emphasises how far that of real Asian
elephants has shrunk. These great animals, which once ranged from China to
Thailand, Indonesia, India and across Syria, are now confined to an area the
size of Spain. If the Elephant Parade fulfils its mission to become “the
world’s largest financial support organisation for elephants,” perhaps the
tragedy of the Asian elephant’s collapse can be reversed.

Note to Editors:

Pictures accompanying this release are available through the PA
Photowire. They can be downloaded from http://www.pa-mediapoint.press.net or
viewed at http://www.mediapoint.press.net or http://www.prnewswire.co.uk.

    Elephant Parade London 2010: 3 May - 4 July


    Gabby Wickham
    Quintessentially Communications

SOURCE Elephant Family

Source: newswire

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