Art and advocacy meet at elephant exhibit

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Elephants are coming to Norfolk this week, but they won’t be held in a zoo.

Life-sized elephant heads and trunks, crafted by artist Wendy Maruyama, will hang from the walls of the Chrysler Museum of Art beginning Thursday. (Courtesy of the Chrysler Museum of Art)

Life-sized elephant heads and trunks, crafted by artist Wendy Maruyama, will hang from the walls of the Chrysler Museum of Art beginning Thursday. (Courtesy of the Chrysler Museum of Art)

“The wildLIFE Project,” crafted by artist Wendy Maruyama, will open at the Chrysler Museum of Art Thursday to bring awareness to the plight of elephants and advocate for better treatment of them. The endangered animals are dying daily due, in part, to illegal poaching for their ivory tusks, according to a Chrysler news release.

Six life-sized elephant heads and trunks, made of wood and string, will hang from the walls of the Chrysler, said Amber Kennedy, who handles media relations for the museum.

The exhibit will also feature wooden, steel and glass shrines with images and text incorporated into them, as well as Maruyama’s “Bell Shrine” with a bronze bell that will ring throughout the day to mark the death of another elephant, the release states.

“The social-practice component of Wendy Maruyama’s artwork is successful in combining art, advocacy, education and community. Her work manages to pull you in with stirring visuals and keep you engaged with multiple layers of content,” said Elizabeth Kozlowski, a curator at the House Center for Contemporary Craft, which organized the traveling exhibit.

“The wildLIFE Project,” was crafted by artist Wendy Maruyama to bring awareness to the plight of endangered elephants. (Courtesy of the Chrysler Museum of Art)

“The wildLIFE Project,” was crafted by artist Wendy Maruyama to bring awareness to the plight of endangered elephants. (Courtesy of the Chrysler Museum of Art)

The free exhibit will be open until Jan. 15, 2017. Its opening will be marked with a free screening of “War Elephants” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday at the Chrysler. Maruyama will also give a free lecture about her exhibit at the Kaufman Theater on Sunday at 2 p.m.

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