The Elephant in the Room: Ivory vs Art History

Cognitive dissonance: discomfort at simultaneously holding two contradictory beliefs.

The Elephant in the Room: Ivory vs Art History

UK’s Daily Mail reports “Prince William has vowed to destroy all 1,200 ivory artefacts in Buckingham Palace to ‘send a message’ to illegal elephant poachers.” Read more…

The circle of life is one thing, poaching animals is another. I’m all for ending barbaric practices that kill herds of animals with little to no regard for their species survival, and with no respect for their lives (nothing and no one should ever be discarded on the road). I can’t imagine dying solely for my tooth.

I am also for strong leadership and putting your money where your mouth is and am impressed by Prince William’s bold stance, especially as a representative of a superpower nation.

AND I am a lover of history, art, museums, education, culture, art as history documentation, art history, craftsmanship, artistic expression….

Thousands of elephants dead for trinkets that mostly remain locked up storage facilities away from human eyesight. Centuries of ivory art and craft pulverized into dust.

Is that the Clark Sisters I hear in the background?

“Is my living in vain?

… No, of course not.”

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust will give way to the collective wailing of animal rights activists, humanitarians, historians, curators, conservationists, and librarians alike. Is the world ready for this level of mourning?

But ivory carving is a relic of the past. Buckingham Palace, as regal as it is, is a long ways from the nobility of the elephant graveyard.

My head hurts.

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