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Lisa Lichtenfels
Realism in Fabric
April 2011

Elephant Polo
Fabric Sculpture

Kasumi is enjoying the sport of the internationally jet setting rich — elephant polo. This game has existed since the 1970s, although back then it was played by only type A personality men on HUGE elephants. As more women entered the fray the elephants got smaller, although Murray, her mount, is still substantially large. Even though players would like to think they are in control of such big beasts, none of them would have a chance at even getting on an elephant without a trusty Mahout. (The recently formed New York City branch of “International Elephant Polo” practices on Humvees
in upstate New York, but that’s not really the same thing.) The Mahout controls Maury with two little sticks and foot nudges under the ears. I would think it’s not a skill set to be picked up quickly or casually.

Kasumi’s club is called the “Screwy Tuskers,” and is an organization of Japanese college girls of very privileged pedigrees. I was surprised to find their website filled with pictures of them in pink polo shirts and tight jeans pillow fighting. How a pillow fight would prepare them for such endeavors is a mystery, but it is probably as effective as tearing through a field in a Humvee.

Murray is a remarkable creature. In the distant past elephants were well on their way to becoming fully aquatic, along with other African natives like hippos and humans. Like a whale their nose opening is at the top of the skull, and their skeletal structure, especially in the ribcage area, has lost a lot of smaller bones and cartilage which were not needed in the buoyancy of water. Even the legs have been effected — the back legs are smaller than the front because if they had continued becoming a whale those limbs would have been the first to disappear entirely. Aquatic appendages must be kept at a minimum, not only for streamlined motion, but considering other beasties that might come nibbling in the water. Murray’s testicles are safely nestled inside by his kidneys — that was a point of elephant anatomy that was rather hard to research and took me by surprise. Like whales, elephants have huge brains — one of the biggest in the animal kingdom even when you consider the brain to body ratio. I have to wonder what all those thoughtful elephants in India and Thailand think when hordes of the super rich show up once a year to ride them around a field tapping balls with long sticks. It’s especially ridiculous since the only way to actually see the ball is to lean so far over you are practically falling off the galloping beast. Kasumi is showing this move much to the delight of the Mahout. Hey, if his Mahout is happy, maybe Murray can get into the spirit of the game. Every intelligent being loves to play.

CFM Gallery
Exquisite technique coupled with artistic vision defines our user-friendly presentation of figurative fine art paintings, sculptures and original graphics. Contemporary symbolism at its apex in the traditions of Bosch, the Italian Renaissance, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, the Viennese and German Secession and the symbolist movements with an edge of surrealism.