Mali in the City

Thanks to Melbourne Zoo and their 150th birthday celebrations in 2012 and their beautiful baby elephant Mali, they commissioned 50 young and aspiring professional artists to create 50 individual life-size Mali sculptures to be painted and presented to the Zoo in August.  These elephant sculptures went on display in various locations around the city and were presented on August 10 to celebrate the 150th anniversary and of course Mali herself.
My elephant went on display in Melbourne Central in front of the Shot Tower (above).
This page is a timeline of the process I underwent on my Mali elephant, hope you enjoy the pics!

50 Malis at the zoo awaiting collection by the artists

My Mali on the trailer

arrived home safe and sound


Surprise here he is!

Me & my Mali

Side view

Application of the weather shield undercoats

These soft elephant heads will be part of the elephant’s slippers

Preparation of the spray booth

spray gun

Spraying on the blue body paint

Blue body paint covers ONLY the back legs

Blue paint having some trouble sticking to the elephant’s hooves

1 x Milky way stripe

2 x Milky way stripes

Each snowflake stencil was hand-cut (small one to begin with)

First stencil test

Mid-way through the major (biggest) snowflake

I was very pleased with the outcome of this snowflake!

Further repeated symmetrically on the other side

Making the elephant’s scarf pattern

I used a template to gauge how much material was needed for the trunk warmer

With a form-fitting practice trunk warmer done, I could move onto the real one

Sliding the final trunk warmer down onto the trunk

The final trunk warmer in place, it will be glued down a little later

Working out how long the scarf needs to be and whether the pattern is right

I wanted to see all scarf, trunk warmer and hat in place

More snowflakes (bigger and different coloured) were applied

This snowflake didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, it will get redone later

Working out the arrangement of elements on the slipper

Cutting out the templates for the slippers

The sides were sewn up like a shower cap so it would wrap around the hooves

They were stuffed with foam to mimic the puffy slipper type

My painting palette

The finished slippers (aside from the added foam)

Me applying another (stressful) snowflake stencil

The first time all four slippers went on

A view from afar to judge they were correct size

More snowflakes!

First coat of gloss varnish being applied

The last of the snowflakes have now been added

Right side

Left side


Right side

The glueing down of the trunk warmer

The all-completed Mali!

The all-completed Mali!

Close-up showing how the slipper is worn (leaving a slot for the struts to extrude)

Mali’s hand-made winter hat

Dropping Mali off at Melbourne Zoo

These two guys managed to lift her with a bit too much ease if you ask me! lol

Bye bye Mali!!


1 Response to Mali in the City

  1. robert john hibbert says:

    Did someone buy your Mali in the end?

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