Lonely Planet Writer

A parade of colourful baby elephant statues goes on display in Chiang Mai to promote animal welfare

A colourful exhibition featuring a range of diverse, multi-coloured elephant statues has gone on display in Chiang Mai, Thailand that will help raise awareness and money for elephant welfare and conservation projects.

Elephant Parade
A young boy poses with one of the elephants in Chiang Mai. Image by Elephant Parade
Elephant Parade
This year’s Elephant Parade features 89 unique statues spread out across the city. Image by Elephant Parade
Elephant Parade
Artist Anukun Hamala with his elephant. Image by Elephant Parade

Founded by father and son Marc and Mike Spits in 2006, Elephant Parade is a social enterprise that runs the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues. Decorated by different artists and celebrities, each statue is a unique piece of art the size of a baby elephant. Handcrafted replicas and a select range of products are also created as part of the project, with 20% of the net profits being donated to elephant welfare and conservation projects. Having previously appeared in 21 cities around the world such as Rotterdam, London, Copenhagen, Taiwan, Milan, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Amsterdam, this year the Elephant Parade is on display in Chiang Mai. 1350 artists have participated in the project over the years, with millions of euros having been raised for Asian elephants, with 1480 unique statues having been created.

Elephant Parade
A girl hugs a bright pink elephant during the exhibition in Chiang Mai. Image by Elephant Parade
Elephant Parade
The baby elephant statues have delighted crowds in cities across the world for the past few years. Image by Elephant Parade
Elephant Parade
Artist Coco Electra painting her elephant. Image by Elephant Parade

This year’s parade features 89 diversely decorated elephant statues spread out all across the city of Chiang Mai for locals and visitors to enjoy. A range of Elephant Parade stores are also located in different spots around the city, enabling supporters to pick up memorabilia linked to the project. Well-known celebrities that have taken part in the project in recent years include Katy Perry, Richard Branson, Bryan Adams, Ricky Gervais and Goldie Hawn.

Elephant Parade
Artist Annatar Jeerasuwan designing her elephant. Image by Elephant Parade
Elephant Parade
Goldie Hawn with a miniature elephant replica. Image by Elephant Parade
Elephant Parade
20% of all proceeds from the project goes towards elephant conservation projects. Image by Elephant Parade

The Chiang Mai Elephant Parade exhibition will be on display in the city until 15 January. More information on the project is available on the Elephant Parade website.