London-based bespoke jeweller and artist Karina Choudhrie makes her long-awaited Elephant Parade debut for the 2013/14 national tour. Karina is Creative Director for Karina; a luxury jewellery brand. She submitted four design ideas to Elephant Parade in February 2013 and was the only UK artist to have two design ideas commissioned for the tour. She recalls: “when I had the phone call to say not just one of my designs but two had been accepted, I was absolutely over the moon. I was in Switzerland when I got the news and my mind kept coming back to Elephant Parade over and over again. I so passionately love what the project stands for.”
“I created two elephants for the Elephant Parade UK national tour. I wanted to design elephants with their own personalities and characters. Than Ying is your modern day princess, I wanted her to be very traditional, a princess with strong classic values but a princess that belongs to 2013. I wanted to use that as a way to connect with other girls and through that connection to create an awareness of how special, noble and prestigious elephants are to our world. I want my daughter to be 25 one day and still be able to be see an elephant. Elephants in India are very special, sacred and very respected. I wanted use my expression with art in being part of this parade with intu.”
Than Ying was one of the 13 tour elephants to feature at the London preview event in July 2013 the elephant statue was an immediate hit with children. Than Ying will feature at each of the intu tour venues during the 2013 leg of the tour.
Karina was one of the UK tour artists to attend the London preview at Kings Cross to get a first look at her art pieces standing in public display. She enjoyed meeting the other artists, representatives from Elephant Parade and tour sponsor intu and speaking with the public on a day when thousands of people were stopping to tweet and take pictures of the first tour elephants to be revealed.
Karina was inspired by the preview day. She said: “The day has been something really special, seeing the connection the elephants have with the public and the fondness the UK has for Elephant Parade. I love the fact that Elephant Parade connects with everyone and on their own terms. King’s Cross was also such a fitting place to preview a national tour: it’s about life, we are always travelling, moving and dealing with busy schedules. There’s no way you are not going to stop and smile when you see these wonderful designs adding colour to your day and bringing a genuine moment of surprise and delight. I loved the location for the preview, it connected with everyone.”
Karina’s second elephant creation, Ice Creamy, is quite different from Than Ying. Elephant Parades are known for their diversity in artistic styles and genres that come together and Karina’s second design brings a touch of fun and humour to offset some of the more serious, fine art creations. Karina comments: “I wanted to connect with the inner child that I think exists in everybody around us. Everyone growing up remembers ice cream in a cone with sprinkles. It doesn’t matter which era you were brought up in, everyone remembers ice cream. What I love is this parade really is for everyone.”
Working simultaneously on two elephants threw up challenges. Karina’s art studio for the Elephant Parade project was on the fourth floor of a central London property and Karina had to re-arrange her studio to make room for two full size Elephant Parade statues. Glynn Clark, Director at tour logistics partner, Expo World Logistics comments: “The Elephant Parade tour really is an national initiative involving artists from all corners of the country. In collecting and delivering the Elephant Parade statues, we have been to a remote chapel in Yorkshire, a sea-front studio in Devon, to the top of a Glasgow townhouse and to a medieval Sussex barn. To deliver Karina’s elephants we needed scaffolding set up to get the elephants in and out of the art studio window in central London. The logistical challenges have been both complex and exciting - and many people stopped to admire Karina’s designs emerging from her art studio window one spring morning. It’s not every day that London commuters get to see an elephant emerge from the window of a London townhouse!”
Aside from the two statues for the national tour, Karina has also contributed a further third design for the digital tour. At each tour venue, hundreds of additional design ideas by artists and school children will be shown on large screens, fulfilling the ambition to make the Elephant Parade national tour the people’s parade. Commenting on her additional 2D design, Karina says: “My third design completes the family of designs I have created. He is your modern day prince, wearing a turban and sunglasses, a smart suit and broach. He has got a style of his own, as I wanted to create him as a personality. Like a human being, elephants each have their own style and character.”