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Elephant shows artistic side to sell paintings

posted 19 Sept 2012, 08:14 by Mpelembe   [ updated 19 Sept 2012, 08:15 ]

Painting Asian elephant puts brush to canvas to sell artworks and raise money for conversation of the endangered elephants.

An elephant at an English Zoo showed off her artistic flair by using her trunk to paint pictures to raise money for charity on Wednesday (September 19).

14-year-old Karishma, an Asian elephant at Whipsnade Zoo near London, deftly held a brush inside her trunk and painted dots and lines onto her canvas.

Whether the abstract greats like Kandinksy, Rothko or Pollock are Karishma's inspiration nobody knows, but keeper Elizabeth Callaghan says the elephant's style definitely follows in that tradition.

"She's a little abstract, she likes to dot and line. They are her two favourite things she does with her paint brush," she said.

Karishma's artwork is being created for Elephant Appreciation Weekend this Saturday and Sunday, when around a dozen of her creations will be up for auction.

"She did it last year, we had a very successful two days last year and so we thought we'd do it again. And one of her paintings actually went for just shy of 200 pounds, so very exciting."

An elephant's trunk is used for many different things: smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking and of course....holding paint brushes.

Karishma's trunk contains around 100,000 different muscles and she has a finger-like feature at the end of her trunk, enabling her to pick up the small brush.

Callaghan said the elephant loves the challenge of painting.

"It's a type of enrichment, they love to learn. Elephants are so super smart so for them it's something new and exciting to do."

Quite the artist, Karishma, posed for photographers, holding her paint brush up high.

She also posed in typical elephant style (trunk to tail) with a couple of brightly-painted wooden elephants, to help promote Elephant Appreciation Weekend.

Asian elephants are endangered, with only around 30,000 left in the wild.