HONG KONG — There are 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild on planet earth. And French artist Paulo Grangeon, in association with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is doing his best to make the world privy to that fact using 1,600 homages to the endangered species.
Those homages took shape in the form of miniature papier-mâché pandas, and they landed in Hong Kong this June as part of their world tour to the delight of the millions.
Grangeon told the Wall Street Journal that at the tour’s first stop in Tapipei, crowds waited in “kilometer-long lines” to see the miniature caricatures.
The pandas, which have also toured France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy and Germany, are often perched in creative poses and places. For instance, when they landed in Hong Kong, they were strew strategically throughout an airplane on a tarmac, with flight attendants posing for photos alongside them.
During the Hong Kong trip, the pandas have also posed flash-mob style on city streets, ridden a tram, in a theme park that hosts four real giant pandas and at a horse race track.
Grangeon makes the pandas with the help of more than 40 women at a workshop in rural northern Thailand. They were commissioned by the WWF to commemorate both the giant panda and the WWF’s 35th anniversary.