Friday, July 16, 2010

No grey elephants, balancing...

Originally uploaded by Miss Gab.

When I first came to London I was walking through Piccadilly Circus, dodging crowds and trying not to get in the way, when I encountered some giant fibreglass elephants painted in amazing designs and colours.

I had seen something similar before in Chicago, though these had been fibreglass cows that were auctioned off and raised a lot of money for charity. Small replicas were then sold at major tourist shops around town. It turns out that these elephants were a very similar idea.

The giant elephants of Elephant Parade were installed at various points around town and then auctioned off (for loads of cash) a few weeks ago at a charity event for Chelsea Hospital. One of my colleagues went along and said the elephants were just gorgeous and she had been sorely tempted to bid on the Australian-themed elephant, which ended up selling for over 20,000 pounds!

Sure enough as a follow-up money spinner from that event, collector pieces were created from some of the major pieces and these were being sold at an event I attended tonight. My colleague was automatically invited to the event, having been to the major charity auction, and I tagged along with her. I was disappointed to learn that the Aussie entry had not been replicated, though I suspect that's because it was a bit too ornate - the original was covered with those collector-item spoons that you used to collect from tourist spots - they came from all over Australia; it was amazing!. Anyway, only 5 replicas of each chosen design were created, and these copies stand 75cm tall, so while they are nowhere near the size of the original, they're still pretty impressive pieces. The replica elephants were being sold at a set price - upwards of 1,900 pounds - so not exactly peanuts (ha elephants, peanuts - ha!) but the detail in them is still great and all funds raised goes towards Elephant Family in its campaign to save endangered Asian elephants.

Naturally I did not purchase an elephant, but I did take photos of the ones I liked and you can view them by clicking here. Under each photo I also listed the artist and the asking price (because I'm sure you could email a bid through if you really wanted to!).

Alternatively you can view the professional photos of the full range of large elephants that were painted and auctioned by clicking here.

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