@therealeleco | @coexistence.story
A 100+ elephants enter cities across the globe telling stories of Coexistence. Every elephant is a replica of a real wild elephant from the forests of South India, crafted with Lantana camara, an invasive weed, by a team of indigenous artisans with The Real Elephant Collective. Proceeds from the exhibition go towards supporting Coexistence between humans and nature.
Conceptualised by Ruth Ganesh & Tarsh Thekaekara and designed by Shubhra Nayar, the exhibition has been preceded by Ruth's unique fund-raiser exhibitions of giant sculpture, Tarsh's work with elephants, lantana and his relationship with the indigenous artisans, and Shubhra's work with design for performance and larger-than-life puppetry.
As these Lantana elephants travel around the world, they call on people to live well with nature around them, carrying the stories and knowledge of how they live with people. This isn’t a call for an extreme return to the wild. Look around you, wherever you are.
Who do you share your world with?
Can we increase our coexistence quotient everywhere, and rewild ourselves. Nature is intelligent and adapting. Other life forms will meet our efforts halfway, if only we give them the chance.
Lantana camara is an invasive weed taking over forests in many parts of the world.
The making of our lantana elephants clears forests of this weed, provides livelihood to adivasi families and highlights the cause of nature conservation.
This project is in collaboration with Elephant Family, an international NGO dedicated to protecting the Asian elephant from extinction in the wild.
Proceeds from the sale of these elephants will fund coexistence initiatives across India.
Our 75-strong team of Adivasi makers hail from villages around Mudumalai & MMHills. Ranjini Janaki (Bettakurumba) is the precious link between the design and the construction of these elephants. Kutti, Bomman, 3 Kethans (!), O Ramesh, Hari, Chandran, Sasi, Praveen, Dinesh, Kirmadan, Lakshmi, Chitras (2), Medhi & Ramya have all contributed to the lantana cladding that brings life to the elephant forms.