Saturday, 8 May 2010

Craftivists Help make Brighter Future 4 Endangered Asian Elephant

Craftivists Help make a Brighter Future for the Endangered

Asian Elephant

 As seen on BBC London news ;

This week London-based artists Carrie Reichardt aka the Baroness  and Nick Reynolds (son of the Great Train robber Bruce) will highlight the plight of the endangered Asian elephant with a painstakingly crafted, controversial mosaic-adorned work in the city’s biggest ever public art event.

The unique elephant will be among 250 life-size models designed by an assortment of established and emerging talent from the art and design world, to be paraded through the capital. The event is organised by Elephant Family, a charity that will auction off the elephants to raise money for the protection of the animal.

“Our elephant ‘Phoolan’ will be the only one in the parade to have a hide and ceremonial coverings made entirely of mosaic tiles,” Carrie Reichardt says. “Yet her looks aren’t only skin deep. The tiled side of Phoolan shows her beauty and the glamorous trappings that adorn elephants at public festivals, but her dark side reveals a handcrafted skeleton with bones broken by landmines and human cruelty, which, together, tell of the exploitation and neglect that many Asian elephants suffer every day of their lives.”

With Phoolan, Reichardt and Reynolds also aimed to create a showpiece for the renaissance of the Craftivist movement in the UK – the marrying of craft with activism – designing a piece that was not only beautifully decorative but also had meaning.

“We want to shock the audience to have them confront the realities faced by Asian elephants,” Reichardt added. “But the work isn’t without humour. If you look at its behind, you’ll find three strategically placed babies’ heads with a plaque that reads ‘Turner Prize Reject’ [a slogan Reichardt often uses in her work]. Beneath that is elephant dung, with another plaque embedded with the words ‘Turner Prize Winner’.”

Phoolan is on display outside the Natural History Museum from May 4th until June 23rd.

Carrie Reichardt, aka The Baroness, has been at the forefront of subversive ceramics for years. As Kate Mikhail states in a recent article in the Observer: “Is she a visionary muralist? A craftivist? An anarchic artist? Reichardt is not one for labels...”. But Reichardt can surely be labelled as one of England’s true anarchist ceramicists. She works from her studios ‘The Treatment Rooms’ in London, a local landmark containing one of the country’s most complete and important displays of mosaics on public view. It is featured in books on the world’s great murals and art pieces.

Nick Reynolds has experienced life on both sides of the law, from being on the run with his Great Train Robber father Bruce, to serving in the Navy during the Falklands War. He specialises in the ancient art of making death masks and Grace Jones, Ronnie Biggs and Howard Marks. His last mask was that of an executed prisoner in Texas, which was featured in a death row exhibition and film '402.' He also plays in the group Alabama 3 and has recorded with artists such as Zodiac Mindwarp, Seal and Lily Allen, to name a few.

To learn more, visit:  &
For more information or images please contact:
Carrie Reichardt,, 0782 8762 850

Notes to Editors:
Within only 100 years, the elephant population has shrunk by more than 90%, dropping from 250,000 to an estimated 25,000, placing this valuable species dangerously close to extinction. If current trends continue, the Asian elephant will cease to exist in the wild by 2050. Elephant Family has been campaigning for conservation of the Asian elephant since 2002, and with this new project it aims to grow public awareness and gather signatures for a government petition and to raise vital funds for conservation projects in Asia, securing the Asian elephants a place in our future. 

This elephant was sponsored by Topps Tiles, who also provided all the materials for Phoolan.

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