At CMU Art Center Theater on Friday, January 15 at 7 pm
“In the end we will only conserve what we love. . .”
A documentary by Galen Garwood:
PANOM, Cousin to the Clouds
The Story of Elephants and Humans
Premiere of a 56-minute documentary on the unique relationship between elephants and humans, exploring both the plight of captive Asian elephants in contemporary society, and their traditional role in ancient Southeast Asian cultures.
Friday,15 January 2010, 7 pm at the Theater, Chiang Mai University Art Center, 239 Nimmenhaemin Road.
The composer of the sound score, Jami Sieber, will also be in attendance.
Tickets 250 baht (students 150 baht).
A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital near Lampang.
From the blog of Galen Garwood:
The most recent survey in Thailand indicates that unless there is a serious effort to help save the few remaining elephants in the country (approximately 3000 wild elephants and 2000 captive) they could become extinct in fourteen years.
But what does ’saving’ them mean?
Is keeping and breeding elephants in captivity really saving a species?
Do elephants held in captivity – whether in zoos, circuses, or elephant camps – contribute to the necessary biodiversity as do wild elephant populations?
Wild elephants are ‘keystone’ species. The survival of many other species depends upon the survival of the wild elephant population. Irrevocably humans are in this chain and ultimately our own survival as a species will depend upon our ability to not only control our own population but to protect the natural habitats of our planet.
Galen Garwood: In a recently completed film project about the relationship of captive elephants and humans, I close with a quote from Baba Douim: “In the end we will only conserve what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we have been taught.”
It is a curious thing about humans: we think of peace only in terms of our own species. Perhaps this is natural inasmuch as we’re the only species who have perfected the craft of war to the point of utter annihilation—of ourselves and every other living thing on the planet. Can we really call this supreme intelligence? What other species has set a course to knowingly and utterly eliminate itself?
How do we reconcile ourselves to one another as humans when we cannot reconcile ourselves to all that is non-human? And how shall we ever embrace all that is non-human if we cannot embrace one another in tolerance, understanding, and peace. It is a conundrum that keeps us out of balance.
In my film, Panom, Cousin to the Clouds, the elephant, because of its great size, becomes somewhat of a breathing metaphor, a giant ambassador from the world around us and of us and in us. We must teach ourselves and our children of the irreparable damage we do, not only to other species but to ourselves as well, when we capture, enclose and exploit other creatures, including humans, for our own entertainment and the satiation of unending appetites.