Elephants are the largest existing land mammals on Earth and requires large areas of land abundant with food and water, in order to survive.
However due to a growth in human populations, elephant populations have significantly decreased due to rapid habitat loss. Elephant Family and The Real Elephant Collective have partnered together to launch CoExistence which is an environmental art installation of 100 life-sized lantana elephant sculptures, in an effort to draw attention to the animal’s plight.
The CoExistence elephants first started their long journey in India. Each elephant were hand-crafted by Indigenous communities in the jungles of Tamil Nadu. In early May they migrated into London with a total of eight separate herds that were on public display.
The goal of the exhibition is to highlight the effects of human invasion and appropriation of wild spaces. Even though the elephant sculptures are meant to be admired, it also carries a message to all humans that we need to change our ways of living.
Dr. Tarsh Thekaekara explained, “CoExistence is a call to change the global conservation paradigm. From saving nature in far-away pockets to living well with nature around us. To value the human connection with nature and celebrate all life forms around us by sharing space. To encourage people to remember that they are of, and for nature. We have the capacity to heal, grow, thrive, and support symbiotically with nature, as other species do.”
A collection of original artworks by award-winning artist George Butler were also on display in Sladmore Contemporary during the exhibition, highlighting the theme of peaceful human-wildlife coexistence. Butler explained, “CoExistence is confirmation of a moment when society realised they had to do more. And the realisation that this is an issue bigger than ourselves, bigger than individuals and indeed bigger than the human race, for the isolated and often solitary role of an illustrator that is a great relief to know those feelings are shared!”