Parade in Mumbai: Elephants in the room trumpet a jumbo cause
All funds raised will be used to help establish safe passages or elephant corridors across India in association with the Wildlife Trust of India and an alliance of conservation NGOs.mumbai Updated: Mar 25, 2018 01:36 IST
After receiving a jumbo welcome earlier this month, most of the 101 elephants that arrived in Mumbai as part of Elephant Parade India, have found a home too.
The roughly 5-ft tall baby elephant sculptures – crafted with semi-precious stones, brass and glass mirrors by Indian celebrities such as artists, fashion designers, architects and Bollywood stars – were exhibited across the city, and auctioned online over the past three weeks.
“We’ve sold 73 so far, all within India,” says Ruth Ganesh, trustee of Elephant Family, the UK-based non-profit that works for the conservation of the Asian elephant and presented the debut parade in India after successful editions in London, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. “Since it’s our first endeavor in India, we didn’t know what to expect but we received a great response. We’ve raised Rs5.75 crore already.”
Of this, Rs50 lakh came from the three highest-fetching lots — Savitri, by interior designer Vikram Goyal; artist Arunkumar HG’s Within and fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s The Sundarbans.
Savitri is a brass baby elephant covered in intricate jaali work. “The cage-like metal work is a metaphor for how the elephant is trapped by urbanisation,” says Goyal. “Since Savitri means ‘ray of light’ in Sanskrit, there’s a way to put lights in the sculpture too.” Within is a minimalist black-and-white work featuring art that represents the pachyderm’s wild ecosystem; The Sundarbans represents a ‘magical, exotic forest’. Conceived by Mukherjee, it was painted by 14 artists from the Sabyasachi Art Foundation.
Bids for all the elephants started at Rs5 lakh. Savitri fetched Rs18 lakh.
Meanwhile, actor Amitabh Bachchan’s work, inspired by his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s poetry, sold for Rs10 lakh. Other sculptures that have also sold were by fashion designers Manish Malhotra, Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla and Gond artist Bhajju Shyam.
All funds raised will be used to help establish safe passages or elephant corridors across India in association with the Wildlife Trust of India and an alliance of conservation NGOs. “India has roughly 27,000 Asian elephants and these corridors will ensure their safety,” Ruth says. Up next, Ganesh is collaborating with artisans in Mudumalai, Tamil Nadu, to sculpt 100 elephants for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.