On Sunday (February 25), the streets of Mumbai will be brightened by 101 elephants painted by the top designers in the country. From the next day onwards, those gorgeous and bright elephants will be paraded across the city and the sculptures will be displayed at public spots. This is part of a campaign to raise awareness and draw attention to the plight of the endangered Asian elephant, whose numbers have fallen by 90 per cent in the last 100 years, the Elephant Family has organised Elephant Parade India, which is being touted as India’s largest public art event.
Each elephant has been painted by a celebrated Indian artist or fashion designer, including Subodh Gupta, Gaurav Gupta, Jitish Kallat, Jogen Chowdhury, Riyas Komu, Tarun Tahiliani and Sabyasachi Mukherjee, as well as top creatives from the UK.
Such a parade has already been held about 24 times all over the world, with artists like Bryan Adams and Katy Perry creating their own elephant sculptures. The India edition aims to generate funds to secure 101 elephant corridors across India for the endangered Asian elephant.
Last year, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall also showed their support for the cause and attended a preview of the event.
Here are some of the sculptures on display.
Fashion designer Anita Dongre had her first encounter with an Asian elephant when she was a child. This childhood memory reminds her of how elephants were being used to ferry people that day, and how she wished they were left in their natural habitat. The artistic style is inspired by the age-old Rajasthani tradition of Pichvai art.
The beauty from The Sabyasachi Art Foundation that will join the parade in India.
Airavat, by Tarun Tahiliani is one of the most stunning pieces of the parade. Painted a shining black, the sculpture has a gold patterned trunk with intricate detailing on its head.
The designer has used his elephant sculpture as a canvas to display the conflict of man with his natural surroundings and how the innocent creatures are caught in between.
Mishra has tapped the plight of the Asian elephant, which is slowly becoming homeless owing to the rampant large-scale clearing of the forests.
Suneet Varma and Prateek Dubey
The designer duo put their effervescent imagination to use and created a colourful and vibrant sculpture.
He has created a phenomenal elephant, Gopi, using a Rajasthani folk art form – phad. More than 700 years old, phad painting is uniquely intricate, teeming with energy and crowded with a narrative.
This is a sneak peek of Arianna – by Elsie Nanji and Ayesha Broacha.
Here’s a peek into some more sculptures.
The parade had a preview in November 2017, in Jaipur, and on Sunday, 101 painted elephant sculptures brightened the streets of Mumbai. This will be followed by an auction event in London, during the same month.