Chiswick Artists Help Highlight Plight of Asian Elephants

Mosaic-adorned 'Phoolan' to be auctioned in aid of animal charity


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Chiswick artist Carrie Reichardt and Nick Reynolds (son of the Great Train robber Bruce) have helped highlight the plight of the endangered Asian elephant by creating a painstakingly crafted, mosaic-adorned work for London's biggest ever public art event.

The unique elephant ‘Phoolan’, which is on display outside the Natural History Museum until June 23rd, is amongst the 250 life-size models designed by an assortment of established and emerging talent from the art and design world.

Organised by Elephant Family, the charity is auctioning off the elephants which can be found at various locations around the capital to raise money for the protection of the animal.

“Our elephant ‘Phoolan’ was the only one in the parade to have a hide and ceremonial coverings made entirely of mosaic tiles,” Carrie told “Yet her looks aren’t only skin deep. The tiled side of Phoolan shows her beauty and the glamorous trappings that adorn elephants at public festivals, but her dark side reveals a handcrafted skeleton with bones broken by landmines and human cruelty, which, together, tell of the exploitation and neglect that many Asian elephants suffer every day of their lives.”

With Phoolan, Reichardt and Reynolds also aimed to create a showpiece for the renaissance of the 'Craftivist' movement – the marrying of craft with activism – designing a piece that was not only beautifully decorative but also had meaning.

“We wanted to shock the audience to have them confront the realities faced by Asian elephants,” Carrie added. “But the work isn’t without humour. If you look at its behind, you’ll find three strategically placed babies’ heads with a plaque that reads ‘Turner Prize Reject’ [a slogan Reichardt often uses in her work]. Beneath that is elephant dung, with another plaque embedded with the words ‘Turner Prize Winner’.”

The making of Phoolan:



May 11, 2010

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