Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication


The Women's Club of Evanston (WCE) will host "Antique Road Show" with Frederick Dove, an expert who will appraise antiques before a live audience on November 06, 2007 at 1:00 pm. He will appraise only 50 items. A unique piece of art designed by Surrealist Salvador Dali for AIR INDIA in 1967 will be one of the items.

Here is the story of how this object was conceived by Dali. The following executives were directly involved in the project, along with many other Air India executives in Europe.

Mr. Nari H. Dastur - Regional Director Air India Europe.

Dial V. Gidwani - Manager Spain-Portugal, North Africa (Tunis-Morocco-Algiers).

Jot Singh - Manager Publicity Geneva.

Air India is known for its outstanding, unique publicity globally. Air India inaugurated its first service to New York in 1959. A large bill board carried the advertisement, “INDIANS ARE COMING! INDIANS ARE COMING!” The theme was warmly appreciated by the travel Industry in the USA.

In Spain, Air India reached out and connected with the upper echelons of Spanish society. Dial Gidwani recounts that the exchanges he had with the Spanish people were more memorable than with people in any other nations, in which he served. One of these connections was with the vibrant surrealist, Salvador Dali. Gidwani vividly recalls the memory of the meeting with him. Air India approached Dali to design a piece of Art for its publicity. Dali agreed. Air India wanted to know the cost involved. He surprised every one with his wish to get him “ A LIVE BABY ELEPHANT" from India. The Air India staff thought he was joking, but he was serious! So the deal was made. However, Dali did not divulge what he had in mind. Air India flew a two year old elephant from Bangalore (India), accompanied by a Mahout (keeper), to Geneva. The elephant, “BIG BABY” was trucked to Cadaquez – Catalunya where it was personally received by me and cleared through customs at 3:00am. The Mahout then guided the elephant to Dali's house. Dali kept the elephant in his house .There was a celebration in Cadaquez. The Mayor declared a three day holiday to welcome the new arrival. The Elephant was paraded for public viewing in the Plaza. Thousands of people arrived from neighboring towns. In honor of the elephant there were three nights of fun, festivity, music, dance, wine and pink champagne (Dali's favorite). A new drink was created by the Indian Tourist Department - it was a mixture of wine and tea. An Indian astrologer was flown in from Mumbai to read palms and predict the future. The Elephant was then presented by Dali to the Barcelona Zoo.

Dali presented Air India with a unique piece of art called, “Double Image” The magic of India inspired Salvador Dali to create what is probably the most unusual ashtray yet seen. The ashtray is composed of a shell shaped center with a serpent twined around its perimeter. It is supported by two surrealist headstands an elephant on one side and a swan on the other. These supports are based on Dali's double image effect. The master explains in his own words Quote THE REFLECTION OF THE ELEPHANT APPEARS TO BE A SWAN AND THE REFLECTION OF THE SWAN APPEARS TO BE AN ELEPHANT. THIS IS WHAT I HAVE DONE FOR THE ASHTRAY. THUS SWAN ----UP-SIDE -DOWN BECOMES AN ELEPHANT'S HEAD INVERTED AND ELEPHANT INVERTED BECOMES ---SWAN. UNQUOTE

It was the first time that an artist of Dali stature had designed an object d' art for an airline, and we at AIR INDIA are honored and delighted. This unusual piece of art was presented to art lovers and friends of Air India globally. I was privileged to present this piece to Prince Juan Carlos of Spain (Now King of Spain) in 1967.

I am proud to be a part of the team in realizing the value of this piece of art

Indians are here. More will be coming and future generations born here are and will be part of the mainstream of America. Ancient India’s heritage, culture and civilization tolerance and secularism. India is the world's largest democracy joins hands with the United States of America - the world's most powerful democracy. God bless America-India.


Dial V. Gidwani


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Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on November 3, 2010 at 9:00am
Thanks for adding this blog. Please add the picture too.



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