LOCATION: Ayutthaya, THAILAND
CAMP: Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal
BOON ROD'S BIO:
The name Boon Rod means "having the merit to survive". The name "Sidoh" is used in Thailand for a male without tusks. Boon Rod arrived at the Kraal in 1997 when he was less than one year old. He had been badly injured by a landmine and was being treated at Chulalongkorn University. When found, he had many lacerations all over his body from the accident but he healed very well and the only visible scarring is on his back legs.
Once transferred to the Kraal he had already started to get better but remained nervous and scared from being traumatized at such a young age. With much love and support from his new human friends, he eventually came around and is now a very happy and contented individual. He has a good life and enjoys painting in his spare time. He is currently working on flower and tree-like compositions. In addition to painting, Boon Rod is a fantastic dancer and needs little encouragement to start swinging and rocking if there happens to be music playing.
The majority of works by Boon Rod 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".