Do you love the peaceful, lumbering giants that are elephants? Then this is one elephant-themed art event to support. Unless you’ve studiously avoided the main shopping areas this weekend, it’s hard to miss these colourful art objects at the Elephant Parade 2011 open-air art exhibition.

Elephant Parade Singapore 2011 statue by PrintsElephant Parade statue by Diane FrancisElephant Parade Singapore 2011 statue by Diane Francis: One Degree NorthElephant Parade Singapore 2011 statue by DAiS: Euraisy
(L-R): Sommar by Prints (at Ion Orchard), We love Mosha and One Degree North by Diane Francis (Singapore Zoo and Singapore Visitors Centre @ Orchard, respectively), Euraisy by DAiS (Forum The Shopping Mall)

Displayed prominently along the Orchard Road stretch, at Singapore museums and hotels, at the zoo and other spots around town, a staggering total of 162 life-sized baby elephant statues will liven up Singapore streets for the next two months.

First launched in 2007 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the Elephant Parade makes its first Asian stop in Singapore. Founded by entrepreneur father-son duo Marc and Mike Spits, the organisation aims to save Asian elephants from the threat of extinction by raising funds and public awareness of the cause.

We love how these elephant designs are so wildly eclectic; an apt reflection of the international diversity of the participating designers.

Elephant Parade Singapore 2011 statue by Leona Lewis: Free SpiritElephant Parade Singapore 2011 statue by Rupert GrintElephant Parade Singapore 2011 statue by Sarkasi SaidElephant Parade Singapore 2011 statue by Philip Treacy
(L-R): Free Spirit by Leona Lewis (313 @ Somerset), Sir Richard the III by Rupert Grint (VivoCity), Nature’s Pride by Sarkasi Said (One Raffles Quay) and Unicelephant by Philip Treacy (VivoCity).

You will see elephants that were painted by international stars and artists: British singer Leona Lewis adorned her elephant with floral and animal motifs while Harry Potter star Rupert Grint’s elephant looks just as offbeat as the actor.

Irish milliner Philip Treacy opted for a pure white elephant; topped with a dramatically tall horn (or hat), of course. Singapore batik artist Sarkasi Said’s Nature’s Pride is this writer’s personal favourite: The elephant statue is layered with multiple patterns in warm, earthy tones.

The elephant statues will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s, after the exhibition ends its run on January 6 next year. In support of elephant conservation efforts in Asia, 25 per cent of the proceeds from the auction will go to The Asian Elephant Foundation and the conservation fund of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Acts of vandalism unfortunately, have surfaced barely days after the start of this art exhibition. The Straits Times reported on Monday, November 14, that Malaysian artist Hamir Soib’s elephant statue at the Asian Civilisation Museum had been damaged by vandals. Although vandalism isn’t atypical of past Elephant Parade exhibitions, some elephants may be cordoned off to prevent similar incidents from occurring the organisers said.

The statues of Elephant Parade Singapore 2011 are displayed at select locations throughout Singapore from now to January 6, 2012. For more information, visit the Elephant Parade website at www.elephantparade.com.