Saturday, September 19, 2009


Last week we took a trip down to Durban to deliver a few of my carvings to the gallery shop and were delighted to see they were exhibiting one of Andries Botha's fantastic life-size elephants.

Nomkhubulwane is woven out of recycled car tyres.

"Nomkhubulwane is the Zulu Goddess of rain, nature, and fertility, and is regarded as the Mother Earth. She is believed to be capable of changing into different types of animals. The name Nomkhubulwane means "she who chooses the state of an animal." - Andries Botha.

There are currently 14 elephants made by Botha and his team. These are placed in many locations around the world.

This isn't the first time I have featured Botha's elephants on my blog. (See here.) These are the elephants that stole my heart. No wonder .....they are contructed of thousands of little pieces of wood and the longer they remain outdoors the more weathered they become.

The top three photographs are mine but the other photographs come from Andries Botha's website. Wander over to see more amazing work by this South African sculptor .


  1. wow these are amazing pieces of work. My favorite is the woven elephant. It is gorgeous and says so much :)

  2. It is glorious to see some of the most damaging and toxic of substances (the tires) turned into an homage for one of the most majestic of creatures through the hands and heart of the artist.
    The wooden elephant forms on the beach are mystical.
    Another inspiration to remind us of the sacredness of all sentient beings.
    thank you

  3. beautiful, just beautful. I find the wooden elephants very poignant.

  4. Can't say it better than merci, but I'll add how much fun for you, as one of his admirers, to be able to come upon that magnificent construct in person - where your own work is showing! So glad you got to experience that piece in person, so you could share it with us and bring Andries back for a visit :)

  5. I adore these. I adore elephants.
    The ones going into the sea take my breath away.

  6. Such glorious sculptures:
    each one totally remarkable!
    Thanks for sharing these -

  7. Rolphe, they do say so much don't they. I can't get over how beautifully woven this elephant is. Fantastic weaving skills.

    Merci33, yes I felt that with the beach elephants too and a sadness as they walk into the sea.

    HHmB, exactly!

    Karin, I couldn't believe my eyes or my luck as I came around the corner to go into the gallery.
    My work is in the gallery shop and it gives me a feeling of satisfaction that the elephant is near by.

    Pamela, can you imagine arriving at the beach and not expecting to see elephants?

  8. What a wonderful use for old tyres! Liked the Zulu history too.

  9. Great post, very interesting. Any way to use old tires is good, but that is great.

  10. Weathering Elephants...such power and strength in these sculptures...Thanks Robyn.

  11. The work that must go into creating each one of these elephants is nothing short of mind-boggling.

    I'm presently pouting because I see I missed your generous give away while I was gone away. The hippy goddess rather resembles me. : )

  12. how amazing. these are wonderful.

    i'm enjoying a taste of art from s. africa. thanks.

  13. I wonder what it is about elephants, some how I think most of us have this huge feeling of affinity with them, dolphins do the same thing for me too.
    The weaving is wonderful and so intricate and must be quite difficult using that medium.
    Thank you so much for giving us another small insight into African art.

  14. These are awesome Robyn (I must have missed the earlier post). I especially love the last picture of the mother and baby...
    The elephants in the weathered wood are truly amazing on that landscape.
    And, to make the first ones out of recycled tyres... love it!

    Jacky xox

  15. the elephant is almost my favorite... of all creatures... great post.

  16. At least someone is trying to recycle those darn tires and to create something so majestic out of them is wonderful-- but my favorite are the weathered wood elephants--- letting nature have its way.

  17. I came because I saw your icon on Karins blog, and I thought, oh that looks interesting, and the elephants are fabulous, and when it is not after 1am I will be back to see more!!

  18. StudioJudith, glad you enjoyed them.

    Avus, I love zulu names for things. There's a whole story wrapped up in one word.

    Chris, its always satifying to find a use for something that not even the landfill sites want.

    Jo, I'm happy to share such amazing sculptures.

    Stevie, there will be another giveaway on my 200th post (about 20 posts away :-)

    Velma, so pleased you enjoyed the taste.

    Penny, there is such an incredible feeling of affinity ....sometimes even mystical, towards certain animals. I watched an excellent documentary on whales and hearing their calls can reduce me to tears. There's also that sadness that slowly but surely man is destroying these wonderful creatures. Seeing the wooden elephants walking into the sea conjures up all those feelings.

    Jacky, the last post on these elephants was about the herd on a beach in Belgium.

    Mansuetude, have you ever looked into the eye of an elephant ?

    Donna, weathered wood always does it for me too.

    Deb, so glad you wandered over. See you later.

  19. These are fabulous! I particularly love the wooden ones. What a brilliant way to recycle!

  20. fantastic! glad you commented on my blog so i could see YOURS. wow. i'm hooked!

  21. Jo, I'm discovering there are so many people with ingenius ideas especially when it comes to recycling.

    Self taught artist, so glad followed me home.

  22. I don`t know why but i found very touching the image of the elephants walking to the water. It have something melancholic in it.

  23. It really amazes me that the recycled tyres were actually woven!!!

  24. Carlos, the elephants going into the sea make me think of how threatened our wildlife is and how terrible it would be if they were allowed to die out.

    Jason, I bet there were lots of blistered hands!

  25. Incredible. Thanks for highlighting this amazing sculptures!

  26. Just wonderful! I love the use of recycled tyres too. It's great to see artists using such 'ugly' materials for good use.
    There's a lady making horses from driftwood somewhere in cyberspace there's a link but I'm not sure where at the moment!

  27. I remember your post about the elephants by the sea. I loved them. And I absolutely adore this one made from car tyres. It is mind-blowing.

  28. The car tires are well suited to this kind of sculpture. I love it. Thanks for sharing more elephants.

  29. these have left me speechless.. here is Baltimore Maryland, they created giant blue crabs and placed them around the city and in Chicago.. they did the same with life size cows.. but this is amazing and I love the recycled nature of the art rather than the pop art syle they've use here in the states.