Pouliční slůně / Street Elephant

Conceptual Puppet

As tall as an average car, a red elephant, dazzling with little golden lights, strolls past on the street outside your window.

Pouliční slůně (Street Elephant) is a puppet elephant. It was designed as an entry for the mascot to represent India as the host of Theatre Olympics 2018 held in New Delhi. This proposal sought to present an ‘Indian-ness’: to portray an image to the world that is rooted in the country’s culture, traditional arts and is creative and contemporary at the same time.

Animal puppets are extensively used in traditional and modern theatre across the world, and in India itself there exist varying styles and sizes of these puppets. One such extremely theatrical image is the Kacchi Ghodi (Horse puppets from Kutch, Rajasthan) where the puppet horse and the human rider become one visceral entity and come alive and animated together. Borrowing from this principle, the idea for a Mascot on the theme of Mitrata ka Dhwaj/ Flags of Friendship is designed as a Baby Elephant with a small palquin nesting a Dove. In the cultures of our subcontinent, elephants are hailed as the symbols of friendship. Universally, Elephants are known to be the most cooperative animals, representing honour, loyalty and good fortune. The Dove is the universal symbol of Peace and Unity. Since Theatre Olympics will define India on the arts and culture maps of the world, we present a unique image through our Mascot. For international audiences, a colourful, vibrant elephant is instantly associated with India. Terracota and Earth colours with hints of Blue, Grey and Green give the mascot a friendly and compatible feel, and it is decorated with Indian patterns and dyeing/ painting techniques. In its most visual and impactful feature, it is covered with lights which make it shine and stand out during day or night. The Mascot is designed such that the puppeteer is inside the baby elephant and has the palquin and Dove resting on his shoulders. With slow and steady steps, the mascot can stroll along on the street and interact with curious onlookers.

Created by: Nitish Jain. Competition Entry:Proposal for the Mascot of the 8th Theatre Olympics, held in India in 2018. Materials: Lightweight fabric, wood, paper mache, LED lights.