Friday, 16 January 2015

Elephant No. 105: Local Street Art

I live in an urban neighbourhood that has been plagued in the past with graffiti scrawls and tags on every available surface. Enter a recent project that brings together students from the Ottawa School of Art with local businesses.

Over the past two years or so, almost any surface that might present a tempting canvas for the less attractive forms of graffiti has instead been declared either a "legal wall" for graffiti, or has been allocated to a local artist or art student.

Given that part of my neighbourhood abounds in Asian restaurants and businesses, elephants have come to play a starring role.

Eastern wall of Phuket Royal Restaurant, Somerset Street, Ottawa.

Although of course I like to see elephants anywhere—and I really like all of these as works of art—I'm not entirely sure how I feel about their location. They adorn a Thai restaurant and the alley of a Chinese gift emporium. Neither country has a very good record when it comes to the exploitation of elephants and/or ivory, so there's something about them that makes me vaguely uncomfortable. But that's just me.

Trio of elephants in progress, front of Phuket Royal Restaurant,
Somerset Street, Ottawa.

In the end, however, what matters is that elephants have been given pride of place. This is very prominent street art, so there's no missing the elephants parading through the neighbourhood. Given that some estimates suggest that elephants will be extinct in the wild as early as 2020, anything that keeps them top-of-mind is great in my books.

Elephants in alley attached to Oriental Giftware, Somerset Street, Ottawa.

I just hope that elephants don't someday become as mythical as the dragons decorating some of the other walls in this neighbourhood.

Elephants in progress on front of Phuket Royal Restaurant, Somerset Street, Ottawa.

Elephant Lore of the Day
In keeping with the visual theme of this post, today's elephant lore is just this image, sent to me a few days ago by my friend, Marie-France.

Although I couldn't find this image on the Hendrick Boards website—which
specializes in clothing, accessories and campaigns supporting animal
welfare—it's definitely worth a visit if you're an animal-lover.

To Support Elephant Welfare

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