Elephants Painting Is Not Cute, It Is Cruel
This answer about elephants painting was written by Wendi Tibbets on Quora. Though I’ve never heard of it, it opened my eyes to an ongoing cruelty to one of our most vulnerable animals.
(All of the paintings have been removed. The “elephant art” dealers are upset the paintings are being depicted. They have left a couple of comments about it. Ironically, they claim on their website that the painting help save elephants. Like the funds from selling babies goes to fighting trafficking, maybe?)
These are the most depressing paintings I have ever seen. It isn’t the fact that the lines are simplistic and childlike, or that the paintings are selling from anywhere between $250–5,000 in online galleries and auctions.
It isn’t because the paintings aren’t very good or even that art collectors the world over are lending rave reviews online; the reviews adding to the artist’s popularity, and making people want to seek out their work, ensuring it will be a very long time before this artist can even contemplate a rest, or phase out into an easy retirement.
This artist is set for life!
Such is the demand for their art.
The paintings are depressing because they are painted by elephants!
These tourists buy the paintings created by the majestic creatures, innocently believing they are helping support a good cause.
What they don’t realize is, these elephants have been painstakingly trained, and tortured, in order for them to learn the basic brushstrokes to create these “masterpieces” they are paying top dollar for, just to hang on their walls.
The elephants have been taught to recreate the same paintings over and over and over again.
The same basic shapes on every canvas!
The mahouts stand very close to the elephants, with bullhooks at the ready, and give them cues as to where the brushstrokes belong.
In actuality, it is the mahouts who are painting these works, by proxy!
The tourists don’t know this is a trick.
What the tourists see when they visit Suda’s park (and others like it) is an elephant with a paintbrush and canvas, enjoying the afternoon sunshine, while painting a relaxing self-portrait and using its creativity of its own volition.
These elephants are not being creative.
Elephants do not like to paint!
They like taking mudbaths to soothe their sunburned skin.
They like to squirt each other while taking a dip in the pond.
They like socializing and frolicking with their friends.
They like exploring, and pulling leaves, touching each other with their delicate trunks, and verbalizing with their unique, trumpeting songs.
They like to play.
Elephants like bananas!
Oh, sweet, delicious bananas!
And they know they will get a reward, maybe a banana, if they do their “circus tricks” for the crowd.
Just like any captive creature that humankind has dominated, imprisoned and exploited for financial gain; an elephant knows that to complete a trick will bring about a reward.
What a rip-off!
Elephants that paint, stand under the glare of the hot sun all day. They get painful sunburns without the benefit of a mudbath to protect them.
Tourists don’t like dirty elephants.
They slave for us humans. We ride on their painful, sunburned backs.
They are constantly bullhooked by cruel mahouts if they don’t mind.
Their delicate ears show the scars from a hundred “corrections” used in training a single proper brushstroke.
When I look upon Suda’s painting, I do not see the brilliant work of a clever, “artistic” elephant, but a tortured, imprisoned soul.
I see elephant tears.
Maetang Elephant Park (Chiang Mai, Thailand): Top Tips Before You Go – TripAdvisor
Thailand’s elephant tourism industry
Elephant Artists? Here’s Why Making an Elephant Paint is Cruel, Not Cute
ELEPHANT CRUELTY IN THAILAND | Organic Fair Trade T-Shirts
14 thoughts on “Elephants Painting Is Not Cute, It Is Cruel”
Gigi, thanks for sharing this info on the elephant painters. I’d never heard of it, and I’ll bet that 98% of the people buying the paintings have no idea at all, but instead think it does indeed show happy intelligent animals enjoying the chance to be creative.
Thanks, Michael. It was new to me, also.
How very sad indeed. Just as I know you do, I too Love all the animal children of our world and it pains me to think of them suffering so someone
can gain financially from them.
It would be different if they were Loved and treated humanely.
Allowed to freely socialize with their kind and other friendly species.
I thank you my Love, for bringing this to the attention of others. Maybe with enough circulation, some help for these and all the other captive animals may be found. Love Always
Thank you, MOTH. Big hugs and kisses.
Well done informative article. Needs a big audience. X
Thank you, Ms. R! I’d never heard of it, so I was glad to post it.
This painting video is still being circulated and I though same like you about the elephant. Glad I found your post which should be shared with bigger audience.
Thank you, Tanweer!
When you take content from someone’s website at least give attribution.
I did. It came from someone on Quora and I attributed it to her. Put a link in as well. If there is another website you would like me to include, please let me know.
You didn’t check who the original content creator was. You are in breach of copyright. Kindly remove pictures of paintings by Srinon and Suda from your post. You do not have permission to use them. They are the property of ThaiElephantArt.com.
I think you are proving the point of the person who wrote this post. All but one are gone, anyway. I will not remove the other without hearing from Suda, herself. Tell her to write me.
Mine looks great on the wall really brings the room together.