Exhibit is in Santa Monica, California through May 14, 2006.
I listened in rapture and anticipation to the opening dialogue in one of Gregory Colbert’s films based on a series of letters he wrote to his wife, “…the Princess of the Elephants…” Having completely dissolved me with the context, the 60-minute multi-media presentation then transported me to a mystical world of Indonesian temples graced by magnificent elephants, shape-shifting dreamers that exchange their human bodies for cheetahs and cranes, and some absolutely astonishing footage of the artist dancing underwater with sperm whales. There was no where else I would rather have been for my birthday this year, and I’m so glad that I followed my impulse to indulgently buy a plane ticket to Los Angeles and just go.
The website for the Ashes and Snow exhibit is a good representation of the art exhibit itself. If you enter the enhanced version, you can drag your mouse across the screen to activate a trail of thumbnail photos from the exhibit. Click to make them open full screen, floating in and out of the different scenes. Remarkably, none of these photos are digitally enhanced. The artist has been building his collection over a decade and continues to add to the collection as it tours the world.
If you can make it to this exhibit before it leaves for Asia on May 15th you will be richly rewarded for your efforts. But if this is too extravagant or impossible, you can still experience the 60-minute centerpiece film on DVD though the Ashes and Snow Online Bookstore. It is well-worth the purchase price, a portion of which goes to support the Flying Elephants Foundation that in turn helps to fund artists and scientists in environmental causes, including Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants whom I met in Kenya last year.