Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Elephant art

Hot Stuff
18 x 24 acrylics

An undiscovered Jackson Pollack? A toddler's painting? No, it was one of approximately 50 paintings that Kamala, one of Calgary's Zoo's three female Asian elephants produces as part of their enrichment program for these animals.

Elephants have been observed in the wild using sticks or rocks to scratch patterns in the sand and dust, a behaviour that has been explained by some naturalists as a possible expression of mood. Although all three of the Zoo's female elephants have been given the opportunity to paint as a part of the enrichment program, Kamala is the only one who has shown a continuing interest.

Kamala uses specially designed brushes to hold in her trunk as she applies acrylic paints to canvas on an easel.

Go here to learn more about Kamala's art and to purchase one of her paintings.

It seems the elephant world has talent as you'll see in this video clip of one animal who paints her own self portrait!


Billie Crain said...

I just watched the video. you've GOT to be kidding me!!! that is the most incredible thing i've ever seen. said...

We took the video while in Thailand in Oct 2007. We hand just paid Fair Trade prices for some purses for resale on our website from the longneck tribe - the women with the rings around their necks - and Liz wanted to visit an elephant camp.
When they started setting up easels in the open space, I started recording what turned out to be this amazing video of an elephant painting the image of an elephant. You can hear my “Oh my God” comments as I am utterly amazed. Since then we have done filming with National Geographic for a program to air later this year.

Please visit the FAQ on our web site to view a lot more information about the training, painting process, and our efforts to support elephant conservation as well as our efforts to provide sustainable income to artist in developing countries.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Quite the scene isn't it Bilie?

Exotic, thank you for providing some background to the video. Great job on capturing this moment and for your work in elephant conservation and support for developing countries.

Jennifer Rose said...

first time I saw that video I actually thought it was a fake :p Its really interesting that the elephants have been taught to paint, might make some people think they are more then just dumb animals (I've had a lot of people say that too me). And I always love when zoos try enrich the animals lives in some way so they don't lay around and get bored. Big change from what zoos use to be like

Billie Crain said...

Interesting info, Exoticworld. thanks for posting this.:)

Jennifer, many years ago my aunt straightened me out about the adjective 'dumb' when describing animals. we tend to think of dumb as lacking in intelligence. she told me dumb is in reference to the inability to use a spoken language as in 'deaf & dumb' would be applied to a person that can neither hear nor speak. I've never seen animals as stupid(read dumb) since. i think some animals are more intelligent than others but that can be said about people, too.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I'd seen the Thai elephants featured on a TV programme;really good to have that comment from Exotic.