The artist sees what they see and they create with whatever may inspire them at the time. For South African sculptor Andries Botha, the inspiration was the mighty African elephant and his treasured material was driftwood. Botha has created 20 driftwood elephants in all and their presence helps to support his world-wide Human Elephant Foundation initiative. The elephants were entirely sculpted from gathered beach driftwood and the pieces were creatively bolted to a metal exoskeleton.
Botha reminds the world that the elephant has near mythical status in Africa. In the mythological legends of Africa, the elephant will embody and transport the soul of a murdered god into the next world and beyond. Botha reflects that the elephant is a romantic creature that is the pure embodiment of Africa’s exotic image.
Botha originally created nine of these life size driftwood elephants for the 2006 Beaufort Triennial held in Belgium. The nine sculptures were placed at the beach in Beaufort and were seen majestically moving forward into the sea. The piece was entitled: You can buy my heart and my soul and reflects the transmigration of souls wandering forward into time.
Botha continues to ask how we can change the way in which we live and is adamant that an artist’s objective is to shed light upon the challenges of the world and to, ultimately, reflect solutions to those challenges.