Art from the circular futures program

Jun 01, 2019

Beautiful Capturings

During the Circular Futures program run by Ashoka,  we were truly blessed with some beautiful pieces of art that captured our learnings as weavers and entrepreneurs learning more about circular economy. Today we reflect on the poem of Ike Krijnen, who captured the very first module of the program in words.

Imagine the economy as an elephant.

With all its different body parts

and no way of telling where it ends,

or where the animal starts.

The ears, the belly,

the trunk, the hooves,

the way it develops,

the way it moves

all in circular, natural motion,

without political or creative devotion.

Simply by being

and staying a natural system –

if an elephant was manmade,

that man, I must've missed him.

Yet some men and women, today,

do care and get concerned;

wish that the life the elephant gets

is the life that it deserves;

that the life that is created around him

is the life we saw when we first found him.

In a way,

that might be where the elephant began,

although we recognize its existence

from before there was man.

And before we were there

there was a natural way,

with natural sunlight,

made of natural days.

Natural resources,

a natural grey –

that beautiful color

the elephant makes.

Imagine the economy as an elephant

grey – not black or white,

nothing in the world ever is,

not even day and night.

A 'white elephant' is a massively wasteful

construction project, the dictionary says.

A pink one a form of delusion,

like an elephant with a fez.


This all seems very clear:

an elephant is grey and round,

if a system of color and shapes

is the system to which we are bound.

No extremes in color,

no beginning or end in shape,

an elephant that no-one sees,

but from which no-one can escape.

The system, then,

the way we see,

is ways to makes sense

of the elephant that be.

Always changing, rapidly,

is what I see in the leaders you are,

fast to switch chairs

to block the king from afar.

To block an end to the start

to this thing we started imagining:

the economy as an elephant

a grey, perfect circle – an endless being.

And the way we see, feed, live with

the animal is our leadership decree:

think outside the box, you said,

connect, build communities

build communities,

build communities,

reach out to others,

make a circle together,

a helix,

a spiral into love –

living on a boat, called Louisa

after all of the above.

Involve, activate,

include the less developed

change our mindset, the seeing system

in which the elephant is enveloped

A desire to fail and to learn from this failure,

regulatory restrictions – regulations

to widen our views so that no-one be surprised

if the elephant, on the eight 'o' clock news

may appear as a unicorn!

That no-one minds

if a king become chair,

because we, the changemakers,

like everyone else aware.

The elephant was fully circular

long before we were there;

it was a unicorn, an economy –

a sustainable one,


and will be,



we care.

That the mindset, not the elephant

is what essentially needs to be rearranged

is what your leadership and urge to learn

has brought about today –

the way we see,




Thank you for making me see

the elephant in the room;

although a test it is

to describe exactly what it is I see...



What are your thoughts? For those who were at the first module- does this poem capture the learnings well?

For those that weren't there, what questions does it elicit?

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