Thailand - Ging Gaow

Ging Gaow picELEPHANT: Plai Ging Gaow
SEX: Male
AGE: born in 2000
MAHOUT: Mr. Kumron Rungreang

CAMP: Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal

The name Ging Gaow means "branch of crystal". The name "Plai" is used in Thailand for all male elephants. Ging Gaow arrived at the Kraal in 2001 when he was only one year old. He was extremely ill at the time. His owner was very poor and could not afford to take care of him. The owner of the Kraal, Mr Laithongrien Meepan, was happy to take Ging Gaow in so that he received the needed medical attention that he required. In his first year at the Kraal, everyone fell in love with Ging Gaow and got very attached to him while his condition rapidly improved and it became apparent that he would survive. Ever since, Ging Gaow has gotten along well with people and enjoys his time spent with the older male elephants. It was not until a fateful day in early 2007 that Ging Gaow finally picked up a paint brush.

A relatively new artist on the elephant art scene, Ging Gaow brings new technique and determination to his work. Not overly inspired by traditional mark making, Ging Gaow and his mahout experimented with various styles and techniques. Eventually, Ging Gaow's mahout discovered that Ging Gaow really took to and enjoyed flicking a paint covered brush at the canvas. This splatter and drip technique, similar to that of Pollack in his heyday, combined with traditional style painting, proved brilliantly successful. The new works that we have available represent the monumental first paintings by this groundbreaking artist.

The majority of works by Ging Gaow are done on elephant dung paper. The paper created on the grounds of the Kraal. It is beautifully textured, odorless, and environmentally sound. With 90 elephants on site, each of which eats an average of 300 - 500 lbs. of food daily, one can surmise that a fair amount of cleanup would be necessary. There has been a new movement as of late to reuse this elephant by-product in larger elephant facilities throughout Southeast Asia. The dung is processed, bleached, screened and dried into a papier-mache type material. The beautifully textured result is being used to create a variety of wonderful products such as paper, picture frames, bookmarks, jewelry boxes, even hats. Yes, "art from both ends of the elephant".

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