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What do artistic Asian elephants and late metal musician Ronnie James Dio have in common? Guitars

March 9, 2011 |  8:18 pm

Elephant painting a guitar

Metal singer Ronnie James Dio, who died last year at age 67 after a battle with stomach cancer, is helping animals posthumously through a partnership between the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout cancer fund set up in his memory and the Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project.

Dio's wife and manager, Wendy Dio, arranged to have elephants decorate several guitars as a fundraiser for both organizations. The Times' music blog Pop & Hiss reports:

Plans call for three elephant-painted guitars to be auctioned this fall, according to a spokeswoman for Dio. Details on the time and manner of the auction are to be announced. SUAS also plans to auction off a total of 100 other instruments being donated and/or signed by celebrity players to raise money for its prevention, research and education efforts.

The Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project sells elephants' art (you might have seen an amazing video in which one of the animals paints what appears to be a self-portrait), using the money to provide food, shelter and veterinary care for captive elephants and provide education on humane elephant treatment for their mahouts, or handlers.

You can see examples of the elephants' paintings at the charity's website. Our favorite elephant artist is a 7-year-old female named Khamtool, a resident of the Maetaman elephant camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand, whose favorite painting subject is colorful flowers.

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-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: An elephant named Jaab painting an electric guitar. Credit: Mark Weiss

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