Elephant sculptures painted by leading cinema stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan,Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar are among artworks being offered up for sale to raise funds for the cause of conserving the country’s pachyderm population.
To raise awareness and funds for the cause,Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and People for Animals have organised a fundraiser. Fifty of the country’s best artists including SH Raza, Jogen Chowdhury, Subodh Gupta and Binoy Varghese and celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan have painted on fibreglass elephants which will be on sale, at an exhibition curated by Sunaina Anand of Art Alive Gallery.
The fundraiser and exhibition will take place from November 28-30 at the Le Méridien hotel in New Delhi.
The Bollywood biggies are part of 50 artists and celebs who are supporting the cause by painting on fibreglass elephant statues for a fundraising exhibition-cum-sale, proceeds of which are set to go towards building the country’s first Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura.
“There are two life size masterpieces by artist Paresh Maity besides a set of 5 elephants painted by Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir and Salman Khan. Anybody who buys them is buying into movie heritage and it would be a nice collector’s item,” Gandhi said.
The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 offers protection for the Asian Elephants but Gandhi says there are no shelters for rehabilitation for the gentle giants.
“There is a ban on elephants in zoos and circuses and the Supreme Court has ordered that all illegal elephants should be rehabilitated but there are no government shelters where they can be sent.
“There are only 22,000 elephants left in the country and out of these at least 6,000 are in brutal and illegal captivity. We need to conserve elephants otherwise they will slowly become extinct,” she said.