Artists Spotlight: Elephant Parade, Movana Chen and April Rivers

April Rivers - Athena, Elephant Parade
By   /  August 12, 2014

Last week, the Elephant Parade arrived in Hong Kong. The exhibition of 100 artistically designed baby elephants opened at Pacific Place, and they’ll be on show for the whole month of August in three shopping malls:  Pacific Place, Cityplaza and Citygate Outlet.

Each of the baby elephants has been designed by renowned artists, designers, or fashion brands like Diana von Furstenburg and personalities like Richard Branson to raise awareness on the conservation of Asian elephants. We spoke with two artists for further insight into the project: local Hong Kong artist Movana Chen, and April Rivers from the USA share their journeys.

M- Movana Chen
A- April Rivers

How did your journey in art begin?

M: In my first art project, the lecturer asked me to measure myself, so I used all the books and magazines from my bookshelf: 139 were equal to 150 high. I tried to look into the relationship between my magazines and myself, and used various ways to develop my project.

A: I’ve always been a weird girl. I’ve always kind of loved a lot of colours and dyed my hair crazy colours, you know. So I decided to go to Savanna College of Art & Design in Savana Georgia and found my home in the fibre department.

Where did get inspiration for your baby elephant?

M: I used the paper catalogues of the Singapore edition of the Elephant Parade, which symbolized the love and creation of the hundred artists from the last parade.

A: I wanted to make my baby elephant a graceful elegant warrior. I used soft cotton cording and made armour out of it. So it is a kind of interesting concept, protecting yourself from something really nice and sweet.

What was your biggest challenge?

M: That time was very limited and sticking together thin strips of paper is very time consuming.

A: I had only ten days to finish my elephant, but luckily I had lots of help from students at SCAD.

Movana Chen - Elephant Parade Messenger, 2014 Knitted Shredded Elephant Parade Singapore Catalogues

Movana Chen – Elephant Parade Messenger, 2014
Made from Shredded Elephant Parade Catalogues

What are your favourite materials to work with?

M: Books! Because every single book has a meaning and after shedding it, it is taken to another level. And the meaning will be carried into the art piece I make.

A: I’d have to say fibre. I think it is something about the softness and the intricacy, but also fibre is such a big umbrella. I mean it has so much variety. You can work with found objects and make sculpture. You can knit, weave or dye fabrics.

What are your upcoming projects?

M: I will go to Rotterdam in September to knit a sculpture piece using the maps of Rotterdam. It will be exhibited in the museum there.

A: I work a lot with bones and lace and am doing a series right now. I’m working on building a collection so that I can have my first show.

Movana and April’s elephants can be seen at Pacific Place Mall until September 9.

Main image:  April Rivers – Athena, 2014 (lace, bone and cotton cording) By Phyllis Chan/ Asia Week Hong Kong


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