November 2006: Elephant Parade 2006
Fifteen years ago Ye Htut Win, a Myanmar businessman based in Yangon, saw The Cow Parade in Zurich, where the city was festooned with life-size model cows, transformed by the artistry of Zurich's contemporary artists. Ever since then, he had dreamed about an Elephant Parade in Myanmar. This year, working together with River Gallery, his dream was realized.
The Myanmar artists were challenged to come up with fun and funky designs for an elephant painting competition. We received eighty entries to the competition and selected the best 21as finalists. Their creators then received a "blank" wooden elephant on which to paint their design. The elephants – about 2 ft high x 2.5 ft long - had all been hand carved from kiln-dried hardwood. The results were spectacular. We were astounded by the level of creativity and ingenuity the artists demonstrated in conveying their artistic vision. The execution was overall of a very high standard, especially creditable when we consider that for most of the artists they were painting in three dimensions for the first time.
First prize winner: Ma Nann with "Goldfish Elephant"
The judges were impressed by how Ma Nann had completely transformed the bulky and ponderous elephant to this brightly coloured tropical fish, which looked as if it could swim away at any moment. Beautifully executed, from the dorsal fin added to the back of the beast, down to the markings on the feet, this charming artwork fully deserved its place at the front of Myanmar's first Elephant Parade.
Second prize winner: Ye Aung Myat with "Nature Elephant"
The beautiful overlapping leaves on Ye Aung Myat's elephant conjured perfectly the tranquil forests of Myanmar, one of the last places in Asia where elephants can still be found in the wild. The somber color palette reminds us that even in Myanmar these majestic creatures are endangered.
Third prize winner: Kay Moe Ko with "Wizard Elephant"
This is a tribute to one of Myanmar's most famous rock musicians, Htoo Ahein Thin, who died in late 90s The ambience and energy of the rock concert is evoked perfectly with the depiction of the different musical instruments and the seemingly random arrangement of elements along the sides of the elephant. We think Htoo Ahein Thin would have been pleased by this tribute from Kay Moe Ko.
Limited edition replicas available from River Gallery
The reaction to the finalist elephants was so favorable that we decided to produce small-scale, limited edition replicas (50 maximum per series) of the most popular designs. The replicas are hand-carved from hardwood, and each one is individually painted by professional artists. The artist who created the original design receives a royalty fee for all sales.
Limited edition elephants available through the gallery:
For information about purchasing one of the these artworks, please contact River Gallery (firstname.lastname@example.org).