I came across a story of these sculpted elephants that are travelling around the world to increase awareness of the plight of elephants in India. I wondered how these life sized elephants were made? The best I could find, initially was in The Hindu newspaper
“The sculptures have been crafted from Lantana camara, a plant introduced to Asia where it has become a notorious weed; toxic to grazing animals and outcompeting native species leading to a reduction in biodiversity. Sculptures made with invasive plant draw attention to the threats elephants face.”
Each sculpture sculpture is based on an individual elephant and they are made by artists and indigenous Adivasi tribespeople in the Nilgiri Hills of the Indian province of Tamil Nadu. The villagers normally supplement their income by making furniture using lantana in the style of cane furniture. It is as good as the cane furniture and half the price
I eventually found a website of the designer that has a video I could not copy, so I took some screen prints of the process.
1 Drawing the animal full size and showing how the armature should be made
2 Using drawing to bend reinforcing rod to shape to make armature
3 Welding the reinforcing rod to make armature
4 Armature with some of the lantana rods attached
5 The structure showing armature and wooden blocks to which lantana will be nailed
6 Preparing the lantana be stripping the bark. I don’t want to be sexist, but again it is the women doing the boring hard labour.
7 Fixing more lantana to the armature to near full size and shape
8 Nailing on the outer layer of lantana
9 Trimming the lantana
10 Trimming the elephant’s nails
11 Detail of the finished work
The BBC’s web page gives dates of when and where the elephants can be seen