Stunning Art Installation Sees a Herd of Elephants Cross The Mall Outside Buckingham Palace

·3 min read
Photo credit: CoExistence Campaign
Photo credit: CoExistence Campaign

The Queen is currently at Windsor Castle where she has been staying throughout the pandemic and has long spent most of her weekends. But if she had been opening the curtains at the front of Buckingham Palace this morning she would have been met with a spectacular sight as a herd of Asian elephants appeared to cross The Mall.

The stunning elephant sculptures are the creation of charity Elephant Family, which was co-founded by the Duchess of Cornwall’s late brother Mark Shand. The organisation’s CoExistence campaign aims to highlight how many elephants now live in human-dominated landscapes and raise awareness of how we can all better coexist with the animals in our habitat.

Photo credit: CoExistence Campaign
Photo credit: CoExistence Campaign

The moving art exhibition features 100 beautifully crafted life-sized elephants which have been made using lantana wood by communities in Indian state Tamil Nadu. The elephants are set to travel on a 13,000-mile migration around the world to spread the message of successful coexistence.

Some 40 of the elephants were set up across The Mall today alongside sculptures of endangered British birds. Elephant Family supporter, actress Joanna Lumley, who was born in India, recalled to T&C how she once met someone in southern India who had set up an early warning system so that people would know when herds of elephants would be crossing. “It worked completely”, she said, adding, “This idea of coexistence seems to be more and more pressing as the world fills up with more and more people.”

Camilla’s late brother Mark Shand started the charity in 2002 but died suddenly in 2014 from a head injury sustained during a fall. “We are all were just taken aback by the suddenness of it”, Joanna said. “But his great passion lived on. He had this elephant called Tara and he fell in love with Tara, that’s the truth of it...and that’s what started off his love for Asian elephants.”

Elephant Family Trustee Ruth Ganesh shared, “What we’re looking at really is something that we [Mark and I] dreamed up together many, many years ago. It feels great to know that more than anything this is what Mark wanted to do, he wanted to evoke through an exhibition the sense of awe and wonder that you feel when you’re actually with a real elephant...He believed that if we could do that then all the support in the world would follow.”

Photo credit: CoExistence Campaign
Photo credit: CoExistence Campaign

She also told how Mark’s “whole family” including the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles “are so deeply involved. They’re on WhatsApp, they’re thrilled to bits that their beloved Mark and his work is absolutely going strong and he’s living on through his work.

The charity says that projects made possible by the CoExistence campaign include “the securement of wildlife corridors which enable safe movement for animals and people, the expansion of national parks and the protection of vital tribal knowledge and livelihoods.”

Than campaign can be supported and sculptures purchased at www.coexistence.org

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