Bronze sculpture of two young elephants
Art,  London,  Photographing Public Art

A little bit of Nairobi in London’s Spitalfields

On the outskirts of Nairobi is a very special place, where orphaned baby elephants find safety and refuge…

Thus I started a blog post last May about the amazing work being done at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Their Orphans’ Project rescues baby elephants who have been injured and/or abandoned by their herd for some reason.

They take them in, treat them if necessary; and when they are old enough they release them into a controlled wild environment in Tsavo. These elephants then go on to have babies of their own, helping to support the survival of the species in Kenya. To date they have successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and reintegrated the orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo.

You can read all about the project and the elephants they care for in that earlier post. You will also read how much I was charmed by the residents and inspired by those who care for them. So imagine how thrilled I was when many of those residents made their way, in sculptural form, to London’s Spitalfields Market!

The Herd of Hope

The Herd of Hope is a family of twenty one life-sized bronze elephants modelled on the actual elephants housed in Nairobi. Or rather, twenty of them are modelled on the orphans. The twenty first is the matriarch, symbolic of the mother and family each of the infant elephants lost when they became orphaned.

A sign by each elephant tells you its name and how it was orphaned. They include Emoli, on the left in my feature photo; Jotto, below; and Malkia, whom I didn’t photograph. All of these were among the group we met back in 2018. I imagine they’re a bit bigger now – elephants grow fast!

Bronze sculpture of a young elephant
Jotto

You can see all the sculptures on the Herd of Hope website. Read their stories, learn about the artists and watch a video walk-through of them in position in the market.

I’m sharing this selection of a few of my favourite images from my shoot for this week’s Photographing Public Art challenge.

Bronze sculpture of a young elephant
Bronze sculpture of a young elephant
Bronze sculpture of a young elephant
Bronze sculpture of a young elephant
Bronze sculpture of a young elephant
Bronze sculpture of a young elephant
Bronze sculpture of a young elephant

And finally, an important warning for the well-being of ALL elephants!

Sign saying not to climb on the elephants

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