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ArtClimateNature

#CoExistence#elephants#public art#sculpture

100 Life-Sized Elephants Lumber Along a Newport Cliff in a Global Conservation Project

July 5, 2024

Grace Ebert

All photos by Corey Favino, courtesy Elephant Family USA and Newport Restoration Foundation, shared with permission

A herd of elephants has arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, on the first leg of their 3,500-mile journey across the U.S. Jointly organized by Elephant Family USA and Art&Newport, the monumental public work draws attention to the relationships between people and wildlife, particularly as the human population grows and encroaches on natural habitats.

“The Great Elephant Migration” features 100 life-sized animal sculptures crafted by the CoExistence Collective, an organization of 200 Indigenous artisans from the Bettakurumba, Paniya, Kattunayakan, and Soliga communities. Standing up to 15 feet tall and weighing nearly 800 pounds, each is made with the invasive Lantana camara weed, which has disrupted the native biodiversity of about 40 percent of India’s protected areas. Many of the artisans live alongside the creatures in India’s Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and their work is both an homage to the magnificent animals and a call to action to protect their environments.

The project launched in 2021 in the U.K. with wild success, and now in Newport, the herd will roam along the Cliff Walk on the Atlantic coastline until September. Following their U.S. debut, the elephants travel to New York City, Miami, Browning, Montana, and Los Angeles. Follow their adventures on Instagram.

Update: This article originally stated that the project was co-organized by Elephant Family and CoExistence.

#CoExistence#elephants#public art#sculpture

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