The provenance and symbolism of the Phallus Collection

Inspired by Mark Shand’s adventures into the wild, the collection of excitingly re-imagined sculptures are based on the ancient fertility symbols gifted to Mark by the tribes and villages he visited across India and Indonesia. Taken from sexual devices known as ‘apadravya’ in the Kama Sutra, the casts are based on the ‘Nirghata’, ‘Manthana’, ‘Upasriptaka’, ‘Varhagata’ and ‘Chitakavilasa’. 

Mark was not only seduced by the colour and culture of his travels that the Phallus Collection so vibrantly brings to life, but by Tara, a captive elephant that he saved from a life of hardship and who inspired him to found Elephant Family, the charity benefiting from this exhibition. There are many ‘objects of desire’ referenced in the Kama Sutra including, fittingly in this context, the image of Gajagamini – a woman whose walk is as seductive as an elephants.  


About Doctor Seema Anand

‘It is she, the woman of my desires, she who walks with the gait of an elephant…..  I believe Vatsyayan wrote the Kama Sutra based on the love life of the elephant.   A male and female elephant at play, swinging those long flexible trunks, spraying each other with water on a hot sweaty day - are a picture of erotic delight.’                          
Doctor Seema Anand    
Helping weave together the strands of desire that have helped inspire the exhibition is Doctor Seema Ananda, a London based mythologist, storyteller, and doctor of Narrative Practices and an authority on the Kama Sutra. Seema will speak on ‘The Arts of Seduction’ as part of the evening event that accompanies the exhibition on Tuesday 20th February.