As human populations have grown around the world, so have their territories, leaving wild animals with less land and resources to survive. This especially affects Earth’s largest land mammals: elephants.
Elephant populations have declined considerably as a consequence of rapid habitat loss and human-elephant conflict. Elephant Family and The Real Elephant Collective have decided to use art as a way to get people to care about this important issue, and have launched a global environmental art installation called CoExistence.
CoExistence features 100 life-sized lantana elephant sculptures that were hand-crafted by the Indigenous communities of Tamil Nadu in India. From India, the elephants were moved to London and were on public display as eight separate herds that were scattered throughout London’s Royal Parks and Berkley Square.
The protruding, larger-than-life exhibit is meant to make viewers reflect on the effects of human invasion and appropriation of wild spaces. The goal is to inspire people to change the way they live by also shifting the human tendency from wishing to dominate or tame nature to one of coexisting with wildlife and the nature around us.
“CoExistence is a call to change the global conservation paradigm,” says Dr. Tarsh Thekaekara. “From saving nature in far-away pockets to living well with nature around us. To value the human connection with nature and celebrate all life forms around us by sharing space. To encourage people to remember that they are of and for nature. We have the capacity to heal, grow, thrive, and support symbiotically with nature, as other species do.”
If you wish to buy a sculpture, all the proceeds from your purchase will help support the work of the Elephant Family. You can also purchase limited edition prints and memorabilia that depict the original artworks by award-winning artist George Butler, which highlight the theme of peaceful human-wildlife coexistence which were also on display in Sladmore Contemporary during the CoExistence exhibition.
The rest of the funds that are raised by the CoExistence campaign will be donated to grassroots organizations in India that focus on bringing people and wildlife to a place where they can coexist in peace. To do this they promote indigenous knowledge and values of tolerance to wildlife and work on innovating technological solutions that serve to protect both animals and people while they share the same space.
Source Image: CoExistence/Varsha Yeshwant Kumar