After two posts devoted to images of elephants we should now look at the ghastly fate of African elephants living today — but I can’t bring myself to give you a full report. So this post will mirror the teeter-totter balances of our moral lives. A look at some brutal facts and then a screeching of brakes and a hairpin turn up a very different street: contemporary design. All will be justified before the end. Skip ahead if you need to.
Photo of elephant matriarch Qumquat and her family, taken by Nick Brandt via Big Life Foundation
This photo was taken on October 27, 2012. Twenty-four hours later Qumquat and her family were gunned down. For ivory.
When the rangers found the carcasses, Qumquat’s youngest calf, only ten months old, was also there, watching over his mother’s carcass. The calf, traumatized at having watched its mother shot and butchered, had stood vigil all night alone. via Big Life Foundation
Lamp by Atelier Van Lieshout via DeTnk
Kitchen Folding Table by Olga Kalugina
Porcelain object by Harumi Nakashima via Boston Museum of Fine Arts
note to the MFA: If you use an artist’s work in promo please give them credit in that promo
Wallpaper elephant by WallFlower via WallFlower
Balloon Pillow soft sculptures by Yayoi Kusama via lammfrommstore
Arty/fancy pillows cost $150 and more. These are Kusamas.
Walrus Chair by Maximo Riera via his website
Riera’s work also mentioned in this post
Shoe by Julian Hakes via his website
In this section we looked at some out-there designs. Elegant, poignant, witty, possibly daft. Because. Because Qumquat lived in our world but she had no notion of us. And we lived in Qumquat’s world and we now live with knowledge of her. Our worlds, our psyches, such a juggled jumble of knowns. I can’t believe that artwork or designed goods aren’t as worthy of our attention as the plight of elephants. This sounds vile but hear me out. We can’t expend our consciousness exclusively on what’s wrong, wretched, unjust, inhuman. We’re idiots if we think we must stay Serious. Life is too complex. We revel in the products of lively imaginations because we seek balance in an ever-tilting world.
Well, those shoes may kill your feet but I wore high heels back in the day and I plumb loved feeling sexy in them.
Hold Qumquat and Horton in your heart.
- On This Earth, a Shadow Falls (2008-2009) The exhibit I saw last year at Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York.
- A Shadow Falls II on the Iris Gallery site. Gloriously scaled images from the exhibit.
- Big Life Foundation
- David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
- About David Sheldrick, on the Trust website
- Profiles of Elephant Keepers and Project Managers at the Trust. Wonderful photos of interspecies affection.
New York Times
- Africa’s Ivory-Driven Elephant Slaughter Continues – A Family Falls Written by Andrew Revkin in his Dot Earth blog.