LOCATION: Ayutthaya, THAILAND
CAMP: Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal
KAM LAI TONG'S BIO:
The name Kam Lai Tong means "bracelet of gold" in the Thai language. Her mother is Pang Kamliphet, which means "bracelet of diamonds" and her father is Plai Ngatong, which means "golden tusk", hence the name "bracelet of gold". Both of her parents have been living at the Elephant Kraal for over 18 years.
Along with her sister Phetmanee, who also paints, Kam Lai Tong picked up painting very quickly. A relative newcomer to the world of painting, Kam Lai Tong has shown great promise in her creative potential. After briefly dabbling in abstraction, she transitioned to figural compositions and landscapes. Although she excelled at creating more complex compositions, her creations do still embody a certain level of raw abstraction. When Kam Lai Tong is not painting, she most enjoys playing around with some of the new born babies and toddlers.
The majority of works by Kam Lai Tong are done on elephant dung paper. The paper is 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".