“This old heart of mine is tired, Döm. It’s plain worn out. Listen now to what I’m asking…and keep it close to your heart. Can you do that?” asks Ambrus, his voice rising above the din of beeps and gurgles. “I need your help.”

“Me? How can I help?” I’m only in high school. I mean, almost high school.

“Exactly, that’s it. That’s it,” says Ambrus, struggling to sit up in his bed. “You’re young, but your heart’s as big as an elephant’s heart, beating full of hope and promise. You can learn. I know you understand what terrible things we’re doing to our home, that we mustn’t treat this planet with such disregard. If you can share this with others, we might have a chance. Shouldn’t we take only what is needed to restore mind and body? All else surely breeds discontent, don’t you think? Mother Earth. Listen to her. Oceans and rivers are the arteries of her heart.”

from BENCH, A Story of Wonder by Galen Garwood


“Elephant Heart will ignite better awareness of this constant interweaving from which we grow and ponder and of which we hold sacred. The heart is more than an organ pumping blood, moving life force through the body; it’s also a vessel of the spirit, something we fill with hope.” Galen Garwood

Twenty-five years ago, at age fifty-four, I sold my home and studio in lovely Port Townsend, Washington, and left for Southeast Asia and began PANOM, a documentary on the plight of the Asian Elephant. During this quarter of a Century, living in Northern Thailand, I completed the film and half a dozen others, mostly about art and artists, and continued my own art in painting, photography, and writing.

Four years ago, the idea of ELEPHANT HEART took shape after interviewing eight-year-old Hjalmar Boyesen for a video about his painting of an elephant and witnessing his remarkably intuitive understanding of our relationship to planet Earth.

The Elephant Heart Project’s trajectory was dismantled by the global pandemic. It is our goal that 2024 will see Elephant Heart as a non-profit entity blooming into reality, creating a scholarship fund to advance environmental awareness through creative imagination.

galen garwood, elephant

Galen Garwood with Prathida. photograph by Richard Lair

galen garfwood, art


Donations of any amount

will help bring it into being.