It is hard, almost impossible, to find traces of wildlife in a bustling city like London. And the chances of seeing a herd of elephant prance and play around is next to none.
So, when the first few elephant bronze sculptures popped up at Old Spitalfields it was especially pleasing to the eye. The herd of elephants eventually grew to twenty-one and included twenty baby elephants and one adult female elephant- the matriarch.
The beautiful life-like sculptures created by the extremely talented internationally acclaimed artists Gillie and Marc (https://gillieandmarc.art/pages/african-elephant-the-orphans) are a brainchild of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/herd-of-hope) to spread awareness about the threats these elephants face like poaching and natural disasters and to raise funds for them. The baby elephants are all orphans and are accompanied by a plaque each that tells their name and story. The plaques also have a QR code that you can scan to watch the elephant’s rescue video and/or donate to the elephant’s rehabilitation. The adult female elephant is the matriarch of the hope of herd that stands for the Trust itself, its team, the people who work hard to rescue and save these elephants from innumerable perils.
The herd of these elephants had their first home at Marble Arch in 2019 before moving to the modern and busy centre of Old Spitalfields in early 2021. The elephants will be on display till end of Summer 2022 before they move to their next home in London. The changing home of these modern sculptures makes them so much more than just pieces of art. They serve to highlight and spread knowledge and awareness about these issues.
The interactive nature of these sculptures with their personalised descriptions and QR code engages us on a deeper level that goes beyond clicking photos with them for our Instagram feeds.
Image credit: Spitalfields, John Sturrock