Here is a wonderful and very touching video of elephants painting. Yes, painting. Apparently they like to. The organization that posted the video writes:
Can your elephant paint? Watch this elephant, rescued from abusive treatment in Burma, now paint an amazing self portrait. You'll be amazed at how his talent unfolds.
So touched by their horrific backgrounds and loving personalities, ExoticWorldGifts.com now supports, "Starving Elephant Artisans" by selling their paintings so they can continue to have a new life in Thailand. (ExoticWorldGifts)
It isn't a hoax or anything. There are a number of videos posted of these painting elephants.
What I find so moving and astonishing is the apparent revelation that animals have a sense of self and the ability to make aesthetic choices. Or maybe it's just the one. "After all," said my husband, who was as astonished as I was, "animals can have prodigies too."
And another---this one just likes to paint flowers. I found an inteview in Salon, dated March 23. How had I not seen or heard any of this? I saw dolphin paintings at Marineland, but those were different: those were clearly more of a trick. these seem to involve aesthetic choices by the elephants....don't they? What does it mean?
Komar & Melamid had heard about elephants that painted in American zoos, including Ruby, whose works raised more than $100,000 a year for the Phoenix Zoo before her death in 1998. They took the idea to Asia, opening the world's first elephant art academy in Lampang, Thailand, in November 1998.
In 1999 their Asian Elephant Art and Conservation Project started two more academies, near Ubud in Bali, Indonesia, and in Kerala, India. In the art classes, elephants work with trainers to learn to hold a paintbrush in their trunks and to make basic strokes across a canvas. "We try to stay out of artistic decisions," says Melamid, the spokesman for the duo. The elephants' abstract creations are beginning to sell to tourists who visit elephant camps. Last year the works raised about $5,000 in Lampang, "which is big money for Thailand," Melamid says. And this week, on March 21, paintings by elephants were auctioned at Christie's in New York. (One painting by Ganesh, a 6-year-old Indian elephant, went for $2,100.)....(Salon)
I see an elephant art and conservation project here . There's an artist's gallery that's well worth a look. Many of them favor abstract designs---some remarkably carefully assembled----but not many of them seem to paint other elephants.
Exotic World Gifts is most definitely worth a look as well; they feature the works of artisans in need. They have some charming flower studies painted by elephants. If I ever have that sort of cash to spend, I most definitely would invest.