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Giant green elephant captivates Moscow park before it heads off to Burning Man art fest

Giant green elephant captivates Moscow park before it heads off to Burning Man art fest
An eight-story-tall artistic representation of an elephant has been inflated and is hovering in one of Moscow's popular parks. The artist behind the sculpture is getting ready to take it to the Burning Man festival in August.

#Slonik (the Russian for ‘little elephant’) is green, inflatable and tall. At 23 meters, it rivals the height of a typical Moscow multi-story apartment building. Posed as though rearing up, with its hooves upraised and trunk pointing straight up, the figure aims to attract attention to the inhumane treatment of elephants in the wild.

This elephant is far from Africa or India and has been on display in Moscow’s Kuzminki partk. The artist behind the project, Mikhail Tsaturyan, is aiming at a different audience: he wants to bring the Slonik to Nevada's Black Rock Desert, to take part in the world’s most famous annual art event, the Burning Man.

It won’t be Tsaturyan’s first Burning Man installation, though he is aiming highest this time. His project last year was called Holoquarium, an inverted pyramid 16 feet (some five meters) tall, with a hologram inside.

Back at home, the Slonik has already been dubbed Russia’s tallest art installation, with the head of the Moscow culture department proposing to include the work in the country’s book of records. Tsaturyan, meanwhile, has made a smaller-scale copy – in glamorous prismatic silver – for display at smaller-scale art events.

Even the full-sized version pales somewhat when compared to some of the world’s tallest inflatable art. Arguably the most famous inflatable sculpture in the world – the Rubber Duck in Saint-Nazaire, France – is about nine meters taller, and there are even larger specimens than that, like the 2013 Big Air Package by Bulgarian-American artist Christo, measuring in at a dizzying 94 meters.

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