Friday, 17 January 2014

Elephant No. 86: Guest Artist Neena Singhal

This was one of my favourite elephant gifts this Christmas, handmade for me by my sister Neena.

Neena is someone whose artistic precision I sincerely admire. She can quilt and cross-stitch and perform incredible feats of paper engineering—all things that make me completely crazy. I suppose I'm the flaky artist in the family, while she is the architect. In other words, she would build the Sistine Chapel; I would decorate it with fingerpainted elephants.

Just looking at how many cross-stitched elephants there are on here gives me hives. After making one, I'd have decided that was enough. I counted, and there are 11 elephants on here—including one that wraps around the side.

She's even made them purple, which is my favourite colour, but definitely not hers. And it's a bag, which, if you know me, is something I also like very much. I must be part cat, because I definitely gravitate towards interesting bags and boxes.

Each year, Neena gives family members a Christmas bag in addition to our other gifts, and they're often handcrafted. This is another recent production. She both made the bag and cross-stitched the Santa—which is really petit-point, because the entire central image is only 4.25 x 6.75 inches.

My version of a similar Christmas bag? Bought at the dollar store, and (sometimes) stuffed with a flourish of tissue paper.

Neena tells me that she finds cross-stitching relaxing. I find that it gives me a headache. So definitely kudos to Neena—both for her patience, and for making me one of the best handmade elephant gifts ever.

Elephant Lore of the Day
Since Neena made me a parade of purple elephants, I thought I'd update a piece of elephant lore I wrote a couple of years ago, about another parade of elephants.

One of the most interesting public art installations in recent years has been The Elephant Parade. Conceived in 2006, The Elephant Parade was inspired by Marc Spits's visit to the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital in Thailand, the first of its kind in the world. Among other things, the hospital provides prosthetic legs for elephants who have stepped on landmines.

At the hospital, Spits met Mosha, a baby elephant who had lost her foot and had been fitted with a prosthetic leg. Moved to find a way of supporting efforts to save Asian elephants, Spits and his son Mike created The Elephant Parade, with all proceeds going to the Asian Elephant Foundation.

Little Mosha, the original inspiration for The Elephant Parade.

The first Elephant Parade appeared in Rotterdam in 2007, and has since been presented in major cities around the world. Each host city features at least 200 brightly coloured elephants, individually decorated by well-known artists, designers, companies and celebrities.

The life-sized baby elephants are placed in public areas, and are meant to draw attention to the plight of Asian elephants. To date, the organization has raised millions of dollars through merchandise sold online, as well as through auction of the decorated elephants.

Artists have included Diane von Furstenburg, Isaac Mizrahi, Katy Perry, and Ferrari. For more on The Elephant Parade, visit their website at

One of The Elephant Parade displays in London, England in 2010

To Support Elephant Welfare

No comments:

Post a Comment