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Comment by Deborah Koff-Chapin on May 10, 2008 at 11:23am
Several people have pased this video along to me and I love it. I really feel their concetration and focus as they paint.
Comment by Deborah on Touch Drawing & More on May 8, 2008 at 9:35am
It is amazing. I had to look it up on to see if it was true! It is (see below). So I guess the next thing is to expose the elephants to touch drawing. Would we call it trunk drawing?
It is always so interesting what animals are capable of. There is so much to be learned from them.


From Snopes:
Claim: Video clip shows an elephant painting a picture of an elephant.
Status: True.
This shows an elephant painting an elephant. It's a little unbelievable. Is it true?
Origins: The above-linked video is "true" in the sense that it represents the real phenomenon of elephants who have learned to paint — with the caveats that "painting" in this sense means the animals outline and color specific drawings they've been taught to replicate (rather than abstractly making free-form portraits of whatever tickles their pachydermic fancies at the moment), they work under the direction of trainers, they don't all exhibit the same level of proficiency, and the quality of their output can be highly variable.

A BBC News article described an exhibition of such paintings at an Edinburgh gallery in 1996:
Pictures which were painted by elephants have gone on display at an Edinburgh gallery.

They include "self-portraits" by Paya, who is said to be the only elephant to have mastered his own likeness.

Paya is one of six elephants whose keepers have taught them how to hold a paintbrush in their trunks. They drop the brush when they want a new colour.

Mrs Khunapramot, from Newington, said: "Many people cannot believe that an elephant is capable of producing any kind of artwork, never mind a self-portrait.

"But they are very intelligent animals and create the entire paintings with great gusto and concentration within just five or 10 minutes — the only thing they cannot do on their own is pick up a paintbrush, so it gets handed to them.

"They are trained by artists who fine-tune their skills, and they paint in front of an audience in their conservation village, leaving no one in any doubt that they are authentic elephant creations."

Mrs Khunapramot, who set up the Thai Fine Art company after studying the history of art in St Andrews and business management at Edinburgh's Napier University, said it took about a month to train the animals to paint.





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