Phoolan – London Elephant Parade 2010
CARRIE REICHARDT / NICK REYNOLDS
In the last 100 years, Asian elephant populations have plummeted from 200,000 to around 30,000. Two thirds of those losses have occurred in the past 10 years.
In 2010, Carrie Reichardt and Nick Reynolds joined the roster of artists and creatives contributing to the London Elephant Parade. The event saw 250 elephants placed around the capital for three months, before being auctioned at Sotheby’s to raise funds for conservation projects across Asia. Carrie was inspired by the David Attenborough quote below. Nick Reynolds wanted to portray the horror and sickness he felt when hearing of the species’ destruction at the hands of farmers and poachers.
“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?”
The finished sculpture was named Phoolan Devi, in reference to the Bandit Queen of India. It pays clear tribute to both artists’ vision. One half casts the elephant as an almost exotic creature, with ornate head-dress and body cloth reminiscent of the most fantastical of children’s storybooks. The other half foregrounds the brutal reality of the situation. Through cutting away and re-casting sections of the resin shell, Carrie and Nick expose the elephant’s skull and skeleton, effectively illustrating the degeneration and eventual destruction of the species. Phoolan Devi was sold to Isabel Goldsmith and is now on show at her hotel in Mexico.