First came Cow Parade, in Switzerland in 1998, and then came Elephant Parade in 2007.
In the mid-noughties, on holiday in Thailand, Marc Spits met Mosha, a young elephant who had lost a leg to a landmine. Mosha and Soraida Salwala, founder and Secretary General of Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE), inspired Marc to create Elephant Parade. This public art exhibition raises awareness and funds to help give the Asian elephant a future.
The first parade was in Rotterdam in 2007 and the FAE’s elephant hospital near Chiang Mai was one of the first organisations to receive funds. Money is raised by auctioning the elephants at the end of the parade and by selling related produce.
This year’s parades (2013) are in the UK, Luxembourg and Trier and Southern California.
London hosted the parade in 2010, and this year it is back in the UK, this time on tour. It launched at Kings Cross Station in London in July, and is currently in Manchester. Over 100 elephants will be touring 14 venues over 375 days.
I as lucky enough to catch the elephants while they were on parade at the Trafford Centre in Manchester:
Next stops are:
16 Sep 2013 Metrocentre, Gateshead
14 Oct 2013 Eldon Square, Newcastle
17 Nov 2013 Cardiff (various locations)
5 Jan 2014 Victoria Centre/ Broadmarsh, Nottingham
9 Feb 2014 Braehead, Glasgow
9 Mar 2014 Potteries, Stoke
7 Apr 2014 Chapelfield, Norwich
5 May 2014 Lakeside, Essex
2 Jun 2014 Uxbridge
30 Jun 2014 Bromley
28 July 2014 London
Supporting the touring elephants, an additional six elephants will join each leg of the 14-stop national tour. For latest images of new joiners to the touring herd follow the Elephant Parade fan page on Facebook.