Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Which is more important - elephants or people?

The BBC reported yesterday that officials from the Los Angeles Animal Services Department were outraged by the artist Banksy's use of an elephant in an art exhibition. The elephant was painted with a non-toxic dye as part of an installation intended to highlight how world poverty is ignored. Banksy's point is that poverty is "the elephant in the room" - the issue that everybody avoids talking about even though it is far too huge to sensibly ignore.

Let me just make sure I understand this. People are absolutely furious because somebody painted an elephant. Not because 16000 children die every day of hunger. Not because 2.2million children die each year from preventable diseases. Not because over one billion men, women, and children do not have safe water to drink.But because somebody painted an elephant.

I think Banksy got it bang on.

9 comments:

mini said...

but if you watch the movie "the protector", you'll know that elephants are sacred animals :)

just kidding. i can't believe people are getting worked up over this, either

Melanie Rimmer said...

Hi Mini. Human beings are sacred animals to me, although sometimes their stupidity boggles me.

I'm sure I recall Michael Moore talking about a movie he made which included footage of a black person being killed, and also a rabbit being skinned (or something). He said he was inundated with hate mail for using the footage of the rabbit, but didn't receive a single complaint about the person. Except I've just done a swift Google and I can't find it again so maybe it wasn't Michael Moore.

amy mels cousin said...

well i think thats a fab idea, its dead unusual and really unique, it was non toxic, brings a whole new meaning to installation!

Melanie Rimmer said...

Hi Amy. It's really nice to see you here. (Amy's an artist so if she says it's a good artwork it must be!) I think it's effective in a way - it's got people talking. The trouble is they're not talking about world poverty, they're talking about animal welfare.

blackberry44 said...

Another thing that makes me very sad is that back in the 70s, that's 30 years ago, there was a concerted campaign to provide clean safe water to people who didn't have it. I don't exactly remember which year it was, but the country was covered woth posters saying "Let's make 197? the year everyone in the world has access to clean safe water" or something similar. And I really thought it was going to be done because we had the will to do it.

Silly me!

Melanie Rimmer said...

I know what you mean, Geri. I must be silly too, but I just don't understand why the human race lets this happen.

In my family, if one person had no shoes then the rest of us wouldn't spend money on luxuries until each member was supplied with all the necessities. That's just common sense. We wouldn't grumble about the sacrifices. Rather we'd be ashamed of ourselves if we let some family members go without whilst others had plenty.

I'm ashamed of the UK, of the affluent nations of the world, and of the human race as a whole because we let this happen.

To put it in perspective - we're all impressed that Richard Branson has pledged to invest £3bn over the next 10 years to research solutions to climate change. That sounds like a lot - it is a lot. But then again Britons spend £2bn a year on crisps[1]

[1] http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0199-1281551_ITM (accessed 22/09/06)

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