The 8-foot-tall elephant, made from plastic trash collected by artist Carlo Lee, stood in a field beside the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. - Photo: Christopher Fletcher

The elephant in the field was meant to be the elephant in the room.

But someone took the room.

Carlo Lee, 29, the artist who created the 8-foot-high elephant trash sculpture that appeared recently along Esterley Tibbetts Highway, in a field just north of Lime Tree Bay Avenue, said he wanted to make a point about Cayman’s trash issue.

His message is still coming across, he said, but he would have preferred to have the elephant surrounded by a wooden frame as originally planned. He said he had the lumber on site.

“But being Cayman, someone took it,” he said.

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The piece was originally supposed to be installed as part of the LIVE Festival on June 8. But rain forced the festival to move to the Lions Centre. Mr. Lee decided to put the elephant up anyway, and completed it on June 25.

It will remain in place no more than another week or two, he said.

“We are looking for a space for it,” he said, “somewhere permanent.”

Mr. Lee, who is primarily a photographer, said he and some other artists have also been talking to the National Gallery about mounting a show of pieces created from recycled material. He’d like to see the elephant as a centerpiece if the exhibit materializes. The sculpture is built on an armature of lumber donated by the construction company, NCB Group. The body is black lawn bags filled with trash, while the ears and tusks are of single-use containers such as water and juice bottles. Mr. Lee said Kerwin Ebanks assisted him in creating the piece.

Half the trash came from Plastic Free Cayman, Mr. Lee said. The rest was from material he either picked up himself or from the recycling collection containers stationed at the island’s supermarkets and Camana Bay.

“We had four bags we went dumpster diving for,” he said.

Mr. Lee said he’s gotten plenty of comments from people who have seen the elephant.

“People are asking what is it about,” he said. “Some people get it. Some people call it Cayman’s trash elephant and people are getting the message.” He’d like to see Cayman set an example to other island communities in the way it handles its refuse.

“We do have a trash problem,” said Mr. Lee. “We bag up all our trash and that’s it. We have trash washing up on our beaches. We need to recycle more.”

Anyone with a prospective space for the sculpture can contact Mr. Lee at 924-6246.

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