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Even toppled on its side, ‘elephant in the room’ sculpture a conversation starter

The elephant in the room: a metaphorical idiom for an obvious problem no one wants to discuss.

It’s also a fitting name for a lumbering elephant sculpture created to further the discussion on the scourge of plastic waste.

Cayman 27’s Joe Avary met with its creator Tuesday afternoon, only to find this conversation piece had been toppled.

“Just having a conversation is really necessary, we need to acknowledge the problem so that we can try to solve it,” said artist and plastic-free advocate Carlo Lee.

He told Cayman 27 getting that conversation started is one reason why he used plastic waste to create the ‘Elephant in the Room’ sculpture.

For weeks, the sculpture stood proudly in this lot along the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, just to the North of Governor’s Square.

Tuesday, it was discovered toppled onto its side.

“It’s actually very funny to see it, because it really shows me how we handle things in Cayman, instead of actually addressing issues and working together,” said Mr. Lee.

He says the sculpture – which he calls ‘Ellie’ – has already sent a powerful message about plastic pollution.

“Ellie will be back, she is resilient, just like our trash problem, and Ellie is not going anywhere anytime soon,” said Mr. Lee. “I’m really glad, and I am appreciative for the conversation that it has forced a lot of people to have, it is brought what people like Plastic Free Cayman have been pushing to the forefront.

Mr. Lee told Cayman 27 plans are in the work to give the ‘Elephant in the Room’ sculpture new life at a more suitable venue.

He said that way, Ellie’s larger than life presence can continue to function as a conversation starter.

“There has been a lot of energy around this, and I think this is one of them, one of the things that really excited people to acknowledge and talk about certain things,” he said. “Just having a conversation is really necessary.”


Mr. Lee told Cayman 27 the next order of business is to disassemble the toppled sculpture so that its plastic parts don’t again become trash.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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