`Lantana' elephants to tour globally to create awareness
By first look, these statues of elephants resemble real elephants but they are sculptures made of lantana camera, a plant locally known as Kongini. These figures were built as part of a project to create elephant statues out of weeds to create awareness. The project is being carried out by ‘The Real Elephant Collective’ and ‘Elephant Family’ based in UK that work towards the welfare of elephants.
This project bears two objectives, firstly it aims to protect elephants and secondly, the creative use of lantanas that are widely grown in the forests. Building shapes of elephants from the stem of lantana originated out of this. Statues were made after boiling the stems without adding any colours to it.
Widely grown lantanas are dangerous to animals as it was identified as a poisonous plant. To prevent the growth of the plant and to protect wild animals from it, the project teaches to use the stems of the plant creatively and profitably. Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment has developed a technology to build crafts and furniture out of it. Creating statues of elephants was developed based on this technology.
These statues of elephants exhibited at Fort Kochi were built by adivasis of Karnataka and Gudalur. 101 statues were built and only 30 of them were exhibited at the beach. After touring Bengaluru and Delhi, these statues will cross the seas and be exhibited in England. In 2021, they will be shipped to America and after the tour in the US, they will be put for auction at San Francisco. The money earned from this will be donated to Asian Elephant Fund. This money will be used for the welfare of elephants.