The Lion King joins London’s Elephant Parade

LONDON – 3rd May 2010 – The Walt Disney Company today unveiled an original work of art painted by leading contemporary artist Sacha Jafri. Inspired by Disney’s award-winning musical THE LION KING, this one-of-a-kind hand-painted model elephant will join 250 other uniquely designed life-size baby elephants as part of London’s biggest-ever public art event, The Elephant Parade an innovative fundraising and public awareness campaign by the Elephant Family charity, designed to highlight the plight of the endangered Asian elephant.

The brightly painted elephants, created by an array of established and emerging talent from the art and design world, will grace a host of London landmarks from 3rd May 2010. Locations include Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the South Bank, as well as Covent Garden piazza where Sacha Jafri’s THE LION KING-inspired elephant will be on display, just minutes away from the hit musical’s home at the Lyceum Theatre.
Sacha Jafri is considered one of the most exciting British painters on the contemporary art scene and he leads a revival of painting through his genre- ‘Magical Realism’. In creating THE LION KING elephant, which took over 200 hours to paint, Sacha said “I am inspired by the magical world of storytelling and adventure that is Disney; and in creating this work I wanted to pay homage to the bright and beautiful world of THE LION KING. As the stage show does, this piece aims to surprise the senses, to uplift the soul and seduce the spirit, to ignite and energise, to remind us of our dream world and to encourage us to adventure on beyond our world, to make the over-familiar magical again. I want the viewer to move around the elephant, to find different elements each time they look, to dip in and out of the magic and to realise their own story of child-hood, escapism, confrontation, responsibility and love.”
Sacha Jafri is hailed by art critics and collectors alike as one of the leading contemporary artists in the world today. His large-scale brightly coloured, highly emotive and lyrical oil on canvas works are uplifting, evocative and poignant narratives inspired from magical realist writers and filmmakers such as Marquez, Kafka, Mistry, Gibran, Coelho, Mendez, Kubrick, Burton, amongst others. He is the youngest artist in the history of art to be offered a 10-year Retrospective, reaching critical acclaim and visiting the top museums of the world including the Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Thomas Schumacher, President, Disney Theatrical Productions said: “I am delighted that THE LION KING is a part of London’s Elephant Parade – and especially thrilled to have renowned artist Sacha Jafri interpret the show with his inspired and energetic painting and its rich kaleidoscope of colour and storytelling. We are all immensely proud of Sacha’s achievement and hope the general public will enjoy his exciting work when they see THE LION KING elephant on display in Covent Garden.”
The Elephant Parade will culminate on 30th June with 25 of the most notable elephants to be auctioned by Henry Wyndham of Sotheby’s at a glittering event at Royal Chelsea Hospital, which aims to raise over £1 million to benefit more than 15 UK conservation charities working in Asia. Sacha Jafri’s THE LION KING elephant is amongst this select group. Julie Taymor’s internationally acclaimed stage adaptation of THE LION KING is based on Disney’s beloved animated feature film and follows the adventures of the lion cub Simba, as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destined role of King. In addition to directing the production, Taymor also designed the show’s costumes and co-designed the masks and puppets.
Disney’s production of THE LION KING has now been seen by over 8 million people in London and 50 million people worldwide. In addition to productions in London and New York, the show can currently be seen in Paris, Tokyo, Hamburg, Las Vegas, and on tour in North America. A new production is due to open in Singapore later this year.
THE LION KING is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.
To see video of Sacha Jafri at work on the elephant and other THE LION KING related content visit http://www.thelionking.co.uk/

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