Words & Photos by Kim Sparrow
So follow me follow, down to the hollow, and there we shall wallow in…. Creativity and conservation, painting elephants and awareness into our memories. And yes, there shall also be mud, natural colour contrasts of the wild, dark brown earth against grey elephant hide.
The Art of Africa and Wild Horizons experience of painting with the elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary is a sensory exploration. Based on the foundations of ethical tourism, the activity is holistic yet unobtrusive in nature, observing and learning from a respectable distance to the herd. Easels set up beneath the mopane trees, guests are led through the bush to begin their creative journey - often more trepidation about painting than being seated in front of a herd of African elephant!
Through active participation, guests are encouraged to familiarise themselves with art, as well as their immediate environment. This mindfulness allows them to connect to nature while reconnecting to themselves, using creativity as a channel to express, a skill many of us have forgotten. There is something about nature which unlocks one’s curiosity, allowing for experimentation beyond fear. Here, under the mopane trees and in the presence of elephants, we delve into our inner artist, welcoming the flow of our innate creativity.
Led by a private tutor, guests are guided through an hour workshop, shown step by step tips to create their own masterpiece. Each final product yields completely different results, highlighting our unique perspectives and worldviews. Immersed in the bush, with natural elements forming the fabric of an outdoor studio, the session unfolds organically. The subjects of the workshop are not stationary, the wind perhaps rustling up orange dust, and warthogs scrambling onto the scene adds to the sensory journey - guests relinquishing to the ways of the wild.
Creativity has offered us new routes into understanding our environment, reawakening a link and wisdom of old in its value. Spending time in nature replenishes our respect for the earth, the interconnectedness of our wild spaces and the ecosystems within. Capturing memories with brush and paint simultaneously captures awareness of concepts such as place, dynamics, biodiversity and conservation. Embark on a creative journey, unleashing creativity, learning about the environment through art.