How is it done?
It may seem unbelievable, but it's true! The process is astonishing, even when you understand how it is achieved.
How can elephants paint?
Scroll down for photos and video
Elephant painting is a beautiful collaboration between an elephant and its mahout (the elephant’s lifelong caretaker). It showcases the extraordinary bond between them, but even then, it takes great time and effort. Not all elephants and mahouts can accomplish this. At our park, we have over 50 elephants, but only two of them choose to paint.
Our elephants are never coerced or subjected to any form of mistreatment to produce these paintings. Each elephant in our care is treated with the highest level of respect and compassion, regardless of whether they participate in painting activities or not.
Preparation is key
Every great work starts with a blank canvas
Every piece begins with a blank canvas and a vision. Depending on the complexity of the painting, it can take up to 2 hours to complete, and the mahout takes several breaks during this time to make sure the elephant is not bored or hungry.
The mahout directs the elephant during the painting process by using verbal cues and by holding the elephant’s ear. There are no nails or other tools used during the session.
Here you can see how one of our artists, Tunwa, starts one of his paintings with a background that would make Bob Ross wide-eyed with envy. In this particular painting, the first part is not too difficult and involves broad strokes to create a blue sky background.
Note: When you buy a painting from us, we offer the option to capture videos and photos during the creation of your painting.
Regular breaks are very important. Elephants need a lot of water, and a snack is always appreciated. Bamboo and different types of fruit (mainly bananas) are an elephant’s food of choice. If it’s a hot day, a soothing bath in the river is always appreciated.
Back to creativity
After some rest, it’s time to keep the artistic juices flowing. Now the difficult part starts, and in this case Tunwa is painting a tree. It should be added that there are usually several more breaks taken during this part of the process.
A masterpiece is born
Video showing Elephant Tunwa Painting
Below is a video showing when Elephant Artist Tunwa creates an amazing painting.