For a bit of ‘post’ Xmas –‘walking off the booze & other excesses’ activity this week, London Shoes headed off to the Marble Arch and the beautiful Hyde Park area of the ‘Smoke’, on what was a gloriously sunny winter’s day – for the specific purpose of seeing a newly exhibited work of ‘sculptured’ art, formally entitled “The Orphan’s Sculpture”, but more commonly referred to as the “Elephants of Tomorrow” – the largest exhibition of wildlife sculpture of its kind in the world.
The sculptures – which were unveiled at Marble Arch on the 4th December – consist of a ‘herd’ of 21 Elephants, who, in the real world; have been orphaned because of the despicable activity of poaching.
This work of art has been commissioned by the globally renowned wildlife charity the ‘Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’, and have been created by the world famous Australian sculpturers ‘Gillie & Marc’, who have their works exhibited in cities all over the world.
It is predicted that if elephant poaching continues at the rate which it takes place at today, then by the year 2040 there will be no more elephants left ‘living in the wild’ – and so the aim of this exhibit of sculptured elephants, is to educate and raise the awareness of Londoner’s and visitors to the city, to the plight of these wonderful animals, and just how badly their existence is endangered.
Each of the 21 sculptures is modelled on ‘real-life’ orphaned elephants that are currently being cared for by the Charity – and each statue has a nameplate of the orphan it represents.
The ‘herd’ is located just behind Marble Arch, on a road-island between the Bayswater Road and Hyde Park – and will be on display throughout the whole of 2020 – so that as many people as possible can come and see them.
These sculptured baby elephants definitely present a great photo opportunity, especially for children – and it is hoped that the exhibit will raise awareness of the enormity of their survival crisis.
So – having hung-out with the ‘herd’ sniffing buns – I was in need of some liquid refreshment before heading off back home – and so I wandered across the Bayswater Road to the ‘Swan Inn’ – a pub that has a few hundred years’ worth of history behind it.
In a previous life, the Swan pub used to be one of the main resting points for stagecoaches heading towards the city. Today, because of its location right next to Marble Arch and Hyde Park, it is very much a ‘tourists’ pub and is always rammed.
One of the Swan pub’s many historic claims to fame, is that it was where in 1670, the notoriously famous French highwayman ‘Claude Duval’ (known as the gentleman highwayman) stopped off for one last drink, before being executed at the Tyburn gallows -London’s most prolific execution site – just a couple of hundred yards further up the road, directly opposite where Marble Arch now stands.
So – having watched the barman at the Swan ‘stand & deliver’ me a couple of ‘cheeky’ beers, I said one last goodbye to the baby elephants, and headed off back home, contemplating the sobering thought about the future of these wonderful animals.
Hope you enjoyed this little article – ‘London Shoes’ final one of 2019.
A big thank you from me to all of ‘Shoes’ FB followers and the many hundreds that follow the London Shoes website – your continual support and encouragement make all this stuff I do worthwhile – and I hope you remain interested and continue to enjoy my work throughout 2020 – there are certainly some big-ones lined up on the shelf that I want to knock-out, whilst I’m still on this planet.
Here’s wishing you all a very happy, healthy and contented New Year – luv & peace-always.
The full range of photographs accompanying this blog, are published below