LOCATION: Ayutthaya, THAILAND
CAMP: Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal
YOD YEAM'S BIO:
The name Yod Yeam means "to be most excellent". The name "Plai" is used in Thailand for all male elephants. Yod Yeam is small in stature for his age but makes up for it with a pair of long beautiful tusks. If in the wild, he would be a prime target for ivory poachers. Fortunately, he has a comfortable home and carefree existence at the Kraal.
Yod Yeam is very strong but moves noticeable slower than most of the other elephants. He is not handicapped or physically hindered in any way, he just likes to take his time and seems to not see the point in hurrying. These leisurely artist-like traits made him a natural candidate for the painting program. Yod Yeam's unhurried approach to life and art-making necessitates patience in both the mahout and the art teacher.
The majority of works by Yod Yeam are done on elephant dung paper. This paper is manufactured on the grounds of the Kraal. 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. The elephant dung is processed, bleached, screened and dried into a papier-mache type material. It is beautifully textured, odorless, and environmentally sound. The end-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.