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Elephants invading Melbourne

Grace Yew

Fri Sep 14 2012

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A herd of elephants has invaded the city of Melbourne – fibreglass elephants, that is. Grace Yew explains why they’re here. Plus check out the really cool video our videographer Julian Tay made!

Mali in the City is Zoos Victoria’s elephantine public art event, created in celebration of Melbourne Zoo’s 150th anniversary.

Made in the image of Mali, the Asian Elephant calf, 50 life-size fibreglass elephant sculptures have been designed and decorated by local artists. Now scattered across town, the Mali replicas illuminate the streets with their eclectic designs, turning the city into a kaleidoscopic showcase of Melburnian creativity.

From Melbourne Central and Federation Square to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Queen Victoria Market, there is no place Mali won’t go.

Each elephant comes with its own unique pattern and name. Their titles range from the solemn; “Endangered Asia” and “A Prayer for Protection”, to the delightfully offbeat “Elephas Maximum” and “Elephantasy”.

The event is being run in collaboration with Wild in Art, and has engaged three-time Archibald Prize finalist, David Bromley, to be its Art Patron.

Sister event Mali in My School features even more mini-Malis in 55 Victorian schools.

In conjunction with the Mali events, Zoos Victoria has released an app on the iTunes Store. The Mali in the City app maps a trail to each baby elephant, and offers information about the events’ artists and sponsors.

Streetwise users who track down the whole herd can enter a draw for one of five limited edition 150 Years Melbourne Zoo commemorative books.

The elephants will be on display until 21 September 2012, and will be auctioned at Melbourne Zoo in October. All proceeds go to Zoo Victoria’s conservation efforts.