This article was published on the Changing America website, November 6, 2019 by Carmen Russell.
Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson want you to know African elephants. They want you to understand them, to see them as more than the subjects of wildlife documentaries but as sentient beings vital to humanity’s survival. And, they want you to know that elephants are in serious danger — even threatened with extinction.
“Elephants — along with whales — are the big bracket of existence on this planet,” Christo says. “We have a connection that’s mythic, that is part of who we are in the world. Without the elephant, we would be much less than human.”
Christo and Wilkinson have spent decades telling the story of elephants. Through photography, film and art, they have shown the annual migrations, the majesty, the playfulness and the challenges they face in their survival. And, in their many interviews of locals in Kenya, Tanzania and other parts of the continent, they relay the stories indigenous tribes tell about their encounters with the gentle giants (Christo has art in his blood, being the son of famed artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.)
Cyril Christo lives in Santa Fe. He travels with his wife, Marie Wilkinson, and their son, Lysander, collaborating on photography and film documentary projects.