Elephant Herd on the March

2 elephant SonaMirzaei_paints_Rothkofant_w_DanielBenzali

Los Angeles artist Sonia Mirzaei at work on Rothkofant, part of the elephant herd due in Dana Point next week.

A little pachyderm ambassador in residence at Laguna Beach’s Art-A-Fair until Sept. 1 is about the size of a six-months-old Asian elephant, but this one is made of fiberglass.

Thirty Art-a-Fair artists will decorate the virtual representative of their species, endangered by ivory-hunting poachers and in southeast Asia by unexploded land mines.

Un-named, the little emissary will be covered by an artistically rendered blanket and its body decorated with what resembles henna tattoos and other multi-media creations. “We drew the blanket since orphaned elephants, when found by humans, will be covered by blankets to substitute for maternal warmth and security of the herd,” said Pam Fall, a photographer and watercolorist.


Art-a-Fair artists with designs for their member of the herd.

The Art-A-Fair baby is part of the so-called “Elephant Parade,” a herd of 30 painted pachyderms, which will be on view at locations scattered throughout Dana Point. The event kicks off at noon Thursday, Aug. 22, at the St. Regis hotel.

Previously, the herd invaded airports in Europe and Asia and is now en route to the United States. Their itinerary is part of a campaign to raise awareness about their use by the logging industry in Myanmar, where scores of elephants are killed or injured by ordnance, organizer Dana Yarger said in a statement.

The Elephant Parade is the brainchild of father and son travelers, Marc and Mike Spits, who met Mosha, a baby elephant injured by a land mine, in 2006. Having lost a leg, Mosha became the first elephant fitted with a prosthetic one.

The fiberglass herd, decorated by internationally renowned artists and a smattering of socially conscious celebrities, has helped form grassroots movements to save the real ones.

“Saving the elephant may stand as metaphor for saving all of the environment,” said Yarger. “If we can’t save an elephant, how can we hope to save the all of the world.”


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