Artist ordered to repaint elephant

Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Monday September 18, 2006

Los Angeles- British guerilla artist Banksy has been ordered to repaint an elaborately decorated live elephant after animal welfare officials found that he had not used child-safe paint in the mammoth art piece, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. Tai, a 38-year-old female Indian elephant, had been adorned in a fetching base colour of scarlet overlaid with an intricate fleur de lilles motif and formed the centerpiece of Banksy's inaugural exhibition in Los Angeles.

She had been placed in a living room scene complete with furniture, painted walls and a chandelier to represent a physical embodiment of the metaphorical phrase "the elephant in the room" whom everyone pretends to ignore.

That did not apply to the city's Department of Animal Services, which on Sunday ordered that "the elephant be completely scrubbed down to bare skin and that a child-safe face paint be used."

Though the paint used on Tai was non-toxic, the officials said it was unsafe and was being used in contravention of regulations.

The setback did not deter the artist from pursuing his vision however. Though Banksy had not managed to procure enough child's face paint to recover the elephant, Tai was placed unpainted in the room Sunday, and the exhibit continued to attract large crowds, the report said.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agenteur