Published on 01/04/2014

Children from Thomas Bewick School in West Denton have designed two elephant statues that will take part in the upcoming Elephant Parade national tour.

This is the first time that the work of school children will stand side-by-side with creations of top artists and public figures during an Elephant Parade that will begin this summer and visit a dozen locations over a period of more than a year, including intu Eldon Square.

The winning designs were created by six year old Ben Bak and twelve year old Karima Quereshi, and were chosen as part of the Elephant Parade local schools’ programme, which will form a key part of the this year’s national tour, presented by intu. Performing judging duties were popular contemporary artist Alexander Millar, Head of Creative Arts at Thomas Bewick, Claire Gladstone, and intu Eldon Square’s Marketing Manager Joan Taylor.
Elephant Parade is a vibrant international public art exposition featuring the artwork of established artists and celebrities on full-sized elephant statues, which are exhibited and sold to raise money for the charity The Asian Elephant Foundation.

Elephant Parade is the world’s largest open air art exhibition of decorated elephant statues that seeks to attract public awareness and support for Asian elephant conservation. Created by local and international artists, each elephant is a unique piece of art.

Pupils from Thomas Bewick joined together to decorate the elephants, during a special art week in school, that culminated with a very special ‘elephant themed’ theatrical performance by acclaimed theatre company, Dodgy Clutch.

Elaine Beard, Co-Director of Dodgy Clutch Theatre Company said:
 "The elephants we have used today were originally created for a piece called 'Elephant' which was a collaboration between artists from North East England and the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The ethos of the piece was 'ubuntu' meaning 'I am because we are'. It has been a delight to bring the elephants to Thomas Bewick because us all being together encapsulates the spirit and ethos of 'Elephant'.

Claire Gladstone, Head of Creative Arts at Thomas Bewick School added:
"Our students have loved having a tangible object to work with, using a multitude of sensory materials. It has been a joy to be involved with such an inclusive project that has brought everyone together and it's wonderful to think that the elephants will be appreciated and celebrated by a wider audience."

Joan Taylor, Marketing Manager for intu Eldon Square commented:
“It was a delight to visit Thomas Bewick School to see all of the entries for Elephant Parade. The designs were simply inspirational and we look forward to seeing the finished elephants on display in intu Eldon Square along with the rest of the herd when they arrive in October.”

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