There is something strange happening around London town. Large ornately and individually decorated elephants have sprung up in some unlikely places. There are over 250 of the brightly coloured pachyderms currently on display in the parks and streets of central London. But where did they spring from, what do they mean and how long are they staying?
Elephant Parade was born out of a father and son’s love for the endangered Asian elephant. Mike and Marc Spits formed the social enterprise in 2002 in response to the urgent need to raise awareness and money for the charity Elephant Family to help the grand animal’s plight.
In the past 100 years the Asian elephants numbers have dwindled by 90 per cent in the wild. As Elephant Parade points out, they are “simply running out of time and space.”
Elephant Parade London is their colourful way of shining “a multicoloured spotlight” on their plight.
The 257 elephants have been decorated by 257 artists including designers such as such as Lulu Guinness, Tommy Hilfiger and Matthew Williamson, jewellers like Boodles and Cartier and even children from schools such as De Beauvoir Primary School in Hackney.
“Anyone who loves elephants, and I do, will love Elephant Parade,” says patron Goldie Hawn. “It is not only the most beautiful, colourful and fun campaign, it also holds the key to saving the majestic species from extinction.”
And don’t worry, you don’t have to ramble around the streets on London trying to stumble on as many of these masterpieces as you can find, Elephant Parade website provides a downloadable map so that you can make a proper day out of it.
Not only can you see these beautiful pieces of art in-situ until the 4th of July, but if your pockets are deep enough you can bid to own one to brighten up your garden or office foyer and what’s more you will be helping to save the elephants. Bidding starts from the 18th of June at Giving Lots.
If your bank balance doesn’t extend to owning a huge one-off piece of investment art such as these, mini elephant’s can be bought from Selfridges as well as Elephant Families pop-up shops in Regent St, Carnaby St and Greenwich Central Market. If you are not in London never fear, you can buy them online at their webshop.
Oh and on your adventures we urge you to look out for the elephant painted by Briony Anderson and Paul Mcgee – after all they named her Belle! (hint: she south of Piccadilly Circus in a street named after a county).
[picture credits: murphyz; Scootzsx / Mark J; visionet / Margherita Antinori; Matt From London / Matt Brown]