26 November 2012

Fibreglass Elephants Celebrating Melbourne Zoo's 150th Anniversary

During this afternoon's visit to the Melbourne Zoo, Trini and I encountered a collection of life-size fibreglass elephants each with their own uniquely painted design.  Further research brought our attention to Melbourne Zoo's 150th birthday.

The Zoo's website best explains how they celebrated this momentous occasion:
Mali in the City was the flagship event of Melbourne Zoo's 150th anniversary celebrations. During this one-of-a-kind public art event, a herd of 50 artist-designed Malis were exhibited on the city's streets and later back at Melbourne Zoo.
On October 25 the entire herd went under the hammer at Auction with all monies raised from the sale of the Malis going to our zoos conservation work. The Malis have already started to leave Melbourne Zoo, on route to their new homes.
In January 2010, the "first elephant calf ever to be born at the zoo" was welcomed with much anticipation and fanfare.  Following a naming contest and 34,000 votes the baby elephant was named Mali.  The fibreglass elephant design is based on Mali.

Trini and I had the pleasure of meeting Mali in March 2010 and we are happy to report that she has grown quite a bit and is apparently due to become a big sister in November 2013.

Mali - 2 months old (March 2010)
Of the 50 artist-designed elephants only 11 remained at the zoo awaiting shipment.  A kaleidoscope of colour and design, each elephant introduced an artist and his/her vision for the elephant.

The seven elephants below were my favorites amongst the eleven still on display.

Steve Monk - Elvis as an elephant - it seems even elephants can impersonate the King.

Kevin Presley
Russ Brebner - Created from recycled and reclaimed metals.

Rusty Mali
Sally Heinrich - The sculpture is a result of a community-led project to capture the many faces of Victoria.  The Herald Sun newspaper invited its young readers to submit self-portraits, which were interpreted by the artist and then transferred onto the elephant.

Deborah Halpern - Mali, the paradoxical little elephant was born in captivity to represent the endangered creatures on our planet.  Mali shines light on the plight of the planet and our part in the health and well being of the animals, plants, air and water.

Mali, Protector of all Animals
Pat Minahan - The 'magic' of Melbourne is translated to Mali using a snowflake design, reflecting the imaginative world of children in a winter wonderland.

Mali's Melbourne Winter Wonderland
Vanessa Bong - Knowing that the orange-bellied parrot was one of our rarest and most endangered species, I was inspired to create a flying flock to create a pattern of overwhelming colour and brightness.

A Pattern of Orange-Bellied Parrots
Elise Martinson - Animals have been a powerful source of inspiration and symbolism for people since the cave men began making marks on stone.  Even the modern day fantasy worlds in popular culture have been heavily influenced by what occurs in nature. 

So congratulations Melbourne Zoo.  We wish you all the success for the next 150 years.  You certainly provide much excitement and delight to my little girl and we look forward to many more return visits.

Trini and her little friend.