The first time Yosifu saw an elephant, he was 17. It was during a visit to Taipei Zoo where the gentle giants made an impression on him.
“ When I saw them I fell in love; they are humble, big and beautiful.”
At the time, he never imagined that he would end up making them part of his art. Yosifu and other artists’ unique designs coat elephant sculptures at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi for Elephant Parade, a social enterprise that integrates art, business, and charity, and aims to preserve a future for the Asian Elephant.
Yosifu's piece was chosen from 55 other artworks to represent the Elephant Parade Taiwan 2016. His choice of simple but bold color schemes evoke those seen in Amis Tribe traditional clothing: red, black and white.
The sun, wind and waves are the three key components used to create “ Life Without End” by Yosifu. “These elements represent the energy of my tribe. Before the introduction of Christianity, in the past, our ancestors believed they came from the sun, and worshiped it.”
Taiwanese Aboriginals have a deep respect for nature and aspire towards balance in the environment. Through his art, Yosifu wants to remind the audience that all life forms are significant and play a meaningful role in the world. Yosifu gained this understanding and perspective of the world in part from his father, who was a fisher and hunter. “ Even hunting is done in a conscious way. Female animals that are pregnant are not hunted. We believe if we treat Mother Earth nicely, she will be good to us.”
At the beginning of his career, he used a lot of animals in his work mainly because he cared for them and they were popular among the audience. This time he is firmly placing emphasis on animal rights and other inequality issues. “ I just want to keep reminding people we are equal and that we must respect each other and our differences. I hope my work can also create a dialogue about this.”
Issues pertaining to inequality have been a consistent theme throughout his work as aboriginal culture has suffered throughout the years in Taiwan. His art is a weapon with which he can fight back, but as for the present project, he is focusing on animals—specifically on elephants.
“Poaching is something that enrages me. Animals can’t talk, but they can feel. With my art, I am giving them a voice.”
When the Manager of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi offered him to get involved he didn’t hesitate. Elephant Parade Taiwan 2016 would be the perfect transition for his exhibit upcoming December, ‘I Love You Too’ which will draw attention to animal protection.
“If we can love humans we can love animals too. And ‘Life Without End’ is my wish for the Asian Elephant.” Yosifu added.