Nov 21 2011
Keep an eye out for elephants on the footpaths of Singapore over the next few months. No, Singapore hasn’t morphed into a mahout camp – the Elephant Parade open-air art exhibit is in town until January 2012.
The Elephant Parade was created to raise awareness (and money) to save the Asian elephant from extinction. Each elephant statue is uniquely decorated by an artist then displayed in a public place across the city for all to enjoy. The first Elephant Parade took place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the event has stampeded across Europe from London to Copenhagen to Milan. At the end of the exhibition, the elephants are auctioned with profits going to the Asian Elephant Foundation.
Considering the charity is for an Asian animal, it’s about time it comes to the corresponding continent. Singapore is the first Asian city to hold an Elephant Parade and more than 160 elephants are currently on display across the city everywhere from the malls on Orchard Road to the Esplanade waterfront.
Singapore’s elephants are as diverse as the artists who created them. Elephants painted in Chinese or Indian traditional costumes symbolise the city’s cultural diversity, while elephants painted to mimic other animals (look for them at the Singapore Zoo) are just plain fun. The ‘Hellaphunt’ is bright red with devil horns and the elephant commissioned by the Philatelic Museum is covered entirely with postage stamps. Some of Singapore’s quirkiest pop artists like Ketna Patel and Justin Lee have contributed an elephant, but my personal favourite is definitely the elephant that looks like a durian.
Sadly, one elephant was vandalized less than a week into the Elephant Parade’s opening, but hopefully this will be an isolated incident.
Elephant Parade is on display across Singapore through January 31, 2012. Visit the official Elephant Parade website for information about the elephants and the artists or to download a location map.
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