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Nanabí, an elephant sculpture
27 Feb 2010

Nomkhubulwane shows itself in City Juárez


Nanabí, an elephant sculpture with a weight of over a thousand kilos and a height of three meters, traveled from South Africa to the border to unveil a very important message which needs to be heard and understood if she is not to have made the journey in vain.

She was sent to say: " As part of nature, we co-exist with the elephant, other creatures, the land, the sea, the sky. What happens to one affects the other. A technologically driven consumerist world has served to disconnect us to the fundamentals of our underlying connections. Selfish interests have destroyed the very nature on which our lives depend. To remember these vital connections requires bridging disciplines which have also been separated. Collaborative conversations are needed to bring about a more supportive relationship with a planet in crisis. I'm here to have those conversations, and to motivate you to do something meaningful to make a difference, whether it is something you do at home, or maybe even a major global solution. Do something for yourself or working with someone who has followed this path. Help us foster respect for life and leave a legacy of worth for the next generation.”

Nanabi, huge and imposing, fervently wishes that these words reach the collective consciousness, which is purpose for which she was created. Originally named Nomkhubulwane, a Zulu name, she was renamed "Nanabí, Mrs. Elephant," or her Mexican tour, which is easier to remember and pronounce in this part of the world. Nanabí arrived in Ciudad Juárez on 24 February and currently sits in the parking lot of Plaza Juarez Mall shopping center, waiting for people who want to listen.

But today, when the sun sets she will be moved to the Centro Cultural Paso del Norte to carry out her mission there until 11 March. It is then planned to have her cross the border accompanied by dozens of children, to be received in El Paso on March 13. She will stay one day in the gardens of El Chamizal and the next day move to the zoo, where she will remain until March 27, finally leaving for other U.S. cities to continue her tour and her laudable work. Who is behind Nanabí?

The African elephant was created by sculptor Andries Botha, who is internationally recognized for his work. At only 57 years of age, he has an impressive international reputation, and started this pachyderm last summer, according to Bliss Brown, a friend of the artist and manager in charge of the Nanabí tour to take place in the United States throughout 2010. Via telephone from Chicago, Bliss explains that Botha is based in Durban, South Africa. Nanabí built there, "I was with him during much of the creative process.

It took approximately four months to make the Elephant, using laced strips of waste tires. I can not say exactly how many tires used because he was given the tires already recycled and cut, but it was a colossal job, "says Bliss. Botha hired two assistants to help him make the sculpture, which is one of 15 elephants, all made from different recycled materials, that are positioned in various locations in the world to carry the message of respect and love the environment. Nanabí is in North America representing the Human Elephant Foundation, which was formed last year by Andries Botha.

I created these life-size elephants out of recycled materials. They represent the world of nature from which we have removed ourselves and for which we increasingly yearn. The Human Elephant Foundation invites us to bridge back to the natural world through the power of imagination and the harnessing of creativity. It provides us with the opportunity to use our intelligence and skills to regenerate a more symbiotic relationship with the Earth

Those interested in learning more about the foundation can enter and visit www.humanelephant.org sculpture.

 
     
 
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