Elephant Parade

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Elephant Parade
By Alina Polishuk, AFAR Contributor
All Photos Courtesy of Elephant Parade
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    Elephant Parade
    Most of the statues for the 2016 Elephant Parade in Chiang Mai are being put into place now, but with the help of our friends at Elephant Parade, we’ve put together a sneak peek at some of this year’s highlights, as well as some favorites from the past 10 years.
    All Photos Courtesy of Elephant Parade
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    Elephant Parade: The Beginning
    The premire Elephant Parade was held in 2007 in the hometown of the exposition's founders: Rotterdam. This first edition showcased 50 elephants, painted by local and Thai artists. The exhibition was an instant success, and according to the city mayor, it was their “most photographed event ever." The accompanying charity auction raised 248,500 euros.
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    Mosha is Elephant Parade’s star, and her story of overcoming adversity—culminating in the first prosthetic elephant leg—is the organization’s inspiration. These days, 20 percent of Elephant Parade’s profit contributes directly to projects that help other Asian elephants like Mosha in their struggle for survival.
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    Bangkok 2015
    Part of Elephant Parade’s travelling herd rested outside the Siam Paragon for the 2015 Bangkok parade in partnership with Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas. Eighty-eight 4.5-foot brightly colored elephants were exhibited in key locations throughout the city to honor the 88th birthday of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
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    Chiang Mai 2016

    To mark Elephant Parade’s 10-year anniversary in 2016, elephants were photographed at iconic locations around Chiang Mai. This piece, “Amulet” by artist Nopparuj Chenarn, sits outside of Thapae Gate, the main entrance to Chiang Mai’s walled old city and the center of the area’s various public activities and festivals.

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    London 2010
    The 2010 Elephant Parade took place in London, where the 260 art elephants were designed by the likes of Marc Quinn, Lulu Guinness, and Diane von Furstenberg. The celebrity auction at the end of the exhibition raised over GBP 4 million (US$7,150,000), and the showpiece of the auction, made by Jack Vettriano, alone raised GBP 155,000 (US$252,600).
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    Singapore 2012
    The herd of over 100 brightly-painted, life-size elephants swarmed the streets of Singapore for two months in 2011. It’s been called the most colourful outdoor art exhibition (and probably the heaviest!) the city has ever seen, and in 2012, won the prestigious “Singapore Marketing Events Award” in the category of Best Consumer Event.
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    Bangkok 2015
    Conservation of the Asian elephant is more important now than ever. As actress and Elephant Parade Ambassador Sirinya Bishop said leading up to the 2015 parade in Bangkok, “The elephant is our country’s national animal and symbol, but somehow this once-revered and noble creature is now forced to beg for food on the busy and dangerous streets of the capital. I truly hope that this magnificent colorful pachyderm parade will raise the awareness and inspire us all to take more concrete steps to ensure their survival and well-being.”
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    Hong Kong 2014
    This piece, “Pearl of the Orient” by artist Diana Francis, was part of the 2014 parade that took place in Hong Kong.
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    Chiang Mai 2016

    Another installation in this year’s Elephant Parade in Chiang Mai,  “Ayuthaya Gold” by Parichart Injaima, has taken up residence inside Wat Intharawat.

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    London 2010
    Thammakit Thamboon decorated his “Union Jack” installation for the London Parade with a specific purpose in mind: “I wanted this elephant to be remembered as the London Elephant.”
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    Bangkok 2015
    Two visitors take a selfie at the Bangkok 2015 parade.
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    Chiang Mai 2016
    Thai buses, known as “red trucks” or “songtaews,” are found all over Northern Thailand. Songtaew means “two rows” in Thai and refers to the two benches that passengers sit on. This installation for this year’s event in Chiang Mai, by Wanchalerm Muenpang, is called “Red Bus” in honor of those iconic taxis.
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    Artbox Workshop
    This year, Elephant Parade Chiang Mai will include the Elephant Parade Land experience, complete with a behind-the-scenes tour, museum, and the Elephant Parade House, where anyone can pop in and decorate an elephant of their own. Elephant lovers who can’t make it to Thailand can order Artbox elephants from Elephant Parade’s website and create their masterpieces at home.
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