Elephant paints and signs drawing of elephant and flowers

This is unbelievably amazing!

Suda the elephant, holding a paint brush with her trunk, draws the outline of an elephant, three flowers, and signs the painting!

H/t FOTM‘s greenworxx

And now, the rest of the story . . . .

Suda is an elephant in Taiwan who, like her two siblings and other “painting” elephants in Thailand, had been trained to paint.

From an account by D-Mack in WafflesAtNoon, March 15, 2016:

A series of videos have been making the rounds on the major social media outlets for several years which depict elephants painting….

The videos are real. The elephants are actually painting, as the creatures have been carefully trained to duplicate certain strokes to produce “art” that is sold to tourists and animal lovers. The paintings bring as much as $500 and the money is used to fund many of the elephant conservatory projects throughout Asia….

In fact, the mahouts [or trainers] set up the canvass, choose the colors, load the brushes with paint, and then urge the animals on with a set of commands that they’ve already been trained to follow. Through practice and replication, many of the elephants have become quite adept at this trick….

Each animal does the same painting time and time again. For casual viewers, the eyes are drawn to the brush being held by the elephant’s trunk as it paints. Upon closer scrutiny, however, you can see the handler manipulating the elephant’s ear with pulls and tugs. The mahout pushes and pulls for vertical and horizontal lines. For dots, spots, and blobs, the elephant’s head is pushed toward the canvass….

In February 2016, a story went viral about a painting elephant in Taiwan by the name of Suda. Photos of Suda were shared on social media showed the elephant painting pictures of elephants, trees, and even spelling her own name. Suda also has two siblings which are also trained to paint….

Bottom Line

Painting elephants are real with the caveat that the animals are trained, and not actually painting of their own volition when it comes to the painting of objects. Elephant art which appears abstract and consists of lines and squiggles is typically created more freely by the animals. In both cases, the money is often used for causes which benefit the elephant.

As far as I’m concerned, the fact that the elephants have been trained to paint doesn’t take away from their accomplishment. Don’t humans get trained to be painters?

I’d like to see how successful “mahouts” are in training humans to paint, and to paint as well as Suda by using their mouths. Suda’s paintings certainly are more artistic than humans’ “abstract” paintings or, worse, “performance art” like Marina Abramovic’s “spirit cooking”.

See also:

~Eowyn

10 responses to “Elephant paints and signs drawing of elephant and flowers

  1. This is absolutely amazing. What strong, beautiful, smart and inspirational animals elephants are. Deserving of our upmost respect. Those who kill for ivory disgust me. Whatever is made from ivory can be made from countless other materials and look just the same. Really don’t understand the need for such cruelty in creating inane objects.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not sure if the elephants are happy being completely controlled by
    their handlers to function as animal Xerox machines.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I bet the elephants probably enjoy it. Maybe not, maybe so. But if it isn’t the darn cutest thing I’ve seen in weeks… ok, that’s a lie. My cats are cuter. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

    Really, it’s precious. The picture at least looks like the elephant has real talent! Far more than modern “art”, for certain!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love elephants, and they do have a sense of justice: They will defend their own, or other humans from attacks from wild animals. They won’t fit in the living room, but we need them, for the environment, for work, and, Yes, for a sense of WONDERMENT.
    Fun Fact: Did you know that there are over 29,000 muscles in an elephant’s trunk?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. That was truly amazing, I felt a real affection with that elephant. That is quite an accomplishment. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you, Dr. Eowyn, for researching the “whole story” behind the painting elephants. I am still in awe of these magnificent creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

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