The Elephant of Eastbury


Virginia Commonwealth University, 1509 Gallery Exhibition, VA, USA, 2011

Kidogo Arts Centre Exhibition, Fremantle W. Australia, 2011

A child goes nextdoor to see his grandmother, and finds her motionless. Next to her is a tiny bejewelled elephant. Upset, the child returns home to tell his parents but when they all return, there is no elephant to be seen, only the deceased grandmother. The parents don’t believe the child but he knows the elephant was real. This is the story behind the poem that inspired the paintings in this body of work

“The Elephant of Eastbury” is an international collaboration between LittleFox Press, U.S./Australian artist Laura Mitchell of Perth and U.S. poet Andrew Gates of Connecticut, which has resulted in not only a multilayered artist’s book with 10 full color plates plus the cover, but also a collection of paintings on canvas that interpret the text – a very rich and haunting poem by Gates. The images range from literal to highly metaphorical interpretations of the poem, the latter of which allude to some of the poet’s memories and stories behind the text of the poem. Many of the images include nuances of the actual text embedded within the landscapes of the paintings, which are not literal landscapes but perhaps best described as the “mindscapes”
They evoke a point of view that alludes to childhood memories. Mitchell’s evocative paintings feature figurative elements overlaying text and texture that suggest the multi-faceted nature of memory.

“The Elephant of Eastbury” – by Andrew Gates

Born wandering between the ears,bookB
an elephant
passing in the back of beyond
gathering grass, leaves, and flowers
digs for the roots of trees and thyme
a tiny twig, a minute seed
enough to fill her skin and bones
to tread the wild mead alone
her trunk covered, dusted in earth
she carries the day’s worth
and crawls to the edge of an ear
and quietly calls for all and nothing to hear.

Hardback: 25.5cm x 21.5cm

Pigment Ink on Archival Paper, 24 pages, 12 full color images

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