Elephant on a Ball

Elephants are dignified gentle giants.

Why would anyone want to teach them to stand on a ball?

This brass sculpture has replaced a Henry Moore that was out front of the AGO for almost 40 years.

Acclaimed contemporary artist Brian Jungen, from British Columbia designed it as a poetic tribute to the plight of creatures in captivity.

To read about this sculpture click on the pic below.

Pics taken by Resa – December 21, 2022

Toronto, Canada

The Artist:


Below is the Henry Moore it replaced.

107 thoughts on “Elephant on a Ball

    1. Dear John,

      I would let all the elephants, oxen, skunks, mice, rats (they’d have to have their own corner house) lots of sponges, wild cats, etc… live with me if it was possible. I see why people dedicate their lives to help wildlife.
      However, I didn’t think about that until I had devoted a lot of my life to the film industry and cats.
      Still, art can help, and I think this piece is speaking!
      OX 🐘 OX 🐘 OX 🐘 OX 🐘

    1. I agree! It breaks my heart how we treat our planet’s animals.
      Art and artists need to take off where the media leaves off.
      “I just gotta get a message to you”.
      🐘 ❤️ 🐘

      1. So true, it’s appalling how man is devastating our planet and resources and destroying life when it is our responsibility to care for earth and it’s inhabitants. A beautiful series of art dear Resa.
        📝xoxoxo 🐭🐭🐘🐘

        1. Yeah, it’s a powerful message! 📝xoxoxo
          Okay send more sun! The sun you sent yesterday got here around 3:00, and it was dusk at 4:00 then night at 4:45!
          They said partly sunny today LIE!!!

  1. Hi Resa, this is a thought provoking sculpture by a talented artist but I think I prefer to see Elephants in their “own environment” and so the paintings by the artist David Shepard will always catch my attention. When you see a Shepard painting you know exactly who painted it….and when you get close up you can see every line and wrinkle on the Elephant’s skin and the depth in their eyes – just awesome. Thanks for the share.

      1. Hi there, David Shepard made his name with his Elephant artworks but he also painted the big cats too. If you check out davidshepard.org you should see some it displayed there (and for sale – though I am in no way connected to the foundation ok!)

    1. You are welcome, Liz! I was angered when I saw this! Then when I investigated, I was moved.
      Who ever came up with the idea that an elephant on a ball was a cute idea is probably with Hades now.

        1. AGREE!!! I hated the zoo (animal prison… which today has become their safe zone) since I was 8 years old, and the circus. As much as I loved the flying trapeze and tightrope… I could never like seeing lions whipped, bears dancing, seals with balls, etc.!

                  1. I remember, too! Our Marineland at Niagara Falls, Canada was investigated. It had to rehabilitate its animals. Some were released. Some are too, old and have gone to humane penned in homes in the ocean.
                    Marineland is being replaced by:
                    Universal Studios Canada is an upcoming Universal theme park in Niagara Falls, Ontario that will open in 2023 replacing Marineland of Canada.

                    1. Agree!
                      We also need to find a better alternative to factory farms. Talk about animal cruelty & suffering!
                      Embracing a more plant based diet is a good start.

                    2. Unfortunate!
                      A trip to an abattoir could cure that.
                      Personally, the shrink wrap doesn’t fool me. I see an animal’s flesh behind it.

    1. This looks very cool in real life! At first I was horrified. Then when I looked into it, I realized this person’s message was how I think and feel.
      Yet, Trent, I think many go past it and think “how cool is that? An elephant on a ball”.
      Cheers to you!

      1. Animals are just part of a circus sideshow, right? They like it that way, I’m sure… Sorry, it does drive me crazy that people see it like that and am sorry that art like this often goes over their heads.

    1. Agree! I love animals. I want them to be wild and free, too.
      Domesticated animals are a different tale. They belong in loving forever homes. ❤ ❤

    1. Unfortunately, many humans disagree. Animals are lesser creatures, we are dominant and therefore we can do what we want.
      Best thing I ever did for myself in my life was become a vegetarian. That opened many thought channels in my mind to new ideas.
      My career is second.

      1. You’re right, Resa, that many humans unfortunately feel far superior to animals — who are of course sentient, wonderful beings with strong feelings and emotions. It’s absolutely great that you’re a vegetarian; as we’ve discussed, I am, too — since the mid-1990s, and vegan for the past two years.

        1. Yahoo for us!
          I’m almost vegan…95%.
          I had an issue with my bones about 15years ago…they were disappearing.
          I added pizza with mozzarella to my diet, cottage cheese and bocconcini… no taste cheeses.
          Along with calcium supplemented orange juice, my bones stabilized.
          Whew! I buy only cheese from free range farms that treat animals humanely! They have my undying gratitude!

  2. This is super interesting. I’m always amazed at how artists not only create something out of nothing, but how they express an important message at the same time. I’m glad to have read the background on the elephant sculpture.

  3. What a beautiful sculpture and I love that it was created to show the horrid plight of animals in circuses (which you will NEVER see me attend). xoxoxo

    1. I hate the circus, and the zoo.
      It’s harsh that zoos and wildlife refuges are now important to survival of species.
      Sometimes – “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” 🐘⚡️💥🐘

      1. Me too. I think of those years when we brought the kids to the zoo. And yet, when we went to Cuba, my kids and me, when I asked if they wanted to swim with the dolphins, I was so proud of them for saying NO! They should never be locked up…
        The only zoo I approve of is like the one we have west of Montreal. They are all rescues and can no longer be let out into the wild as they would not be able to defend themselves. So they become teachers to all who visit them. It’s beautiful. 👸✨

  4. Resa, a great looking sculpture. I’d like to see circus animals flip the script and make their trainers do the tricks instead. That would be a circus I’d pay to see. We can do better as a society and treat animals with respect instead of entertainment.

    1. I agree! Also, we are running out of animals.
      I’d love to see more people embrace a plant based diet. I’m not preaching full vegetarianism, or veganism, but less meat and more plants.
      Perhaps that way we wouldn’t need those horrid factory farms anymore. Breaks my heart.

  5. Resa – your photographs are exquisite, bringing the profound message of this sculpture to life. Thank you for the link to the back story. I would never have guessed how Brian Jungen created this extraordinary artwork.

    “Jungen modeled second-hand leather furniture into the figure of a performing elephant, measuring five and a half meters long, and four meters tall.”

    Don and I enjoyed this post immensely. You are so lucky to see this sculpture in person.

    1. I knew I answered this! I just put it in the wrong place.
      I wrote:
      Dear Rebecca,

      The sculpture is magnificent.
      I thought of you immediately.
      I always think of you when I go by the AGO.
      I also thought how pleased you’d be that the artist was from B.C., a place where nature counts more than many other places, and with a rich history of aboriginal art. After all, he is part Indigenous, part European.

      On another note: Many Torontonians are shell shocked to see their beloved Henry Moore put out to pasture.. albeit in a park near by.
      It had graced that spot for about 35 years. I’ve lived in Toronto for almost 40 years, and do not recall any other sculpture on that spot.
      You and I have had a couple of conversations about Henry Moore. The largest collection of his art resides in the AGO.

      There is a lot to say about that.
      Yes, Henry Moore was not making such a social social/political statement. Or, was he?
      Times have changed.
      Many thought Moores sculpture was scathing… indecent, way back when.

      I always saw that sculpture as sexual in content.
      2 bodies,,, in those positions warmed me.

      Most just wanted to sit on it, and have their pic taken.


      1. Resa – this is wonderful information. I have saved your comments and will be going back to learn more about Henry Moore. I was very pleased that the artist was from B.C., but I understand completely that there is poignancy in seeing Henry Moore’s sculpture in a different location.

        I just read/viewed the AGO post Close Looking: Henry Moore in Grange Park (August 23, 2023)


        I love travelling the art pathway together!! Sending hugs!

  6. Great idea behind this sculpture -you already know my views on captivated wild animals and how much I detest circuses and zoos. May they all find freedom one day!
    Solidarity paw waves from Hera too! 😉 xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    1. Your views are my views, dear Marina.
      Hera’s views are mine too.
      Although the planet is running out of sponges!

        1. No worries! I have a bronze badge in swimming! I’m sure it’s like riding a bicycle. Once I start treading, no problemos! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  7. Thank you for sharing this poignant work, Resa. I hate seeing animals in captivity and forced to perform. I like, too, how the sculptor recycled materials to make the sculpture.

    1. It is so poignant. I was outraged at first. Then I learned the artist’s intent and message.
      The artist calls it -Repurposed Consumer Goods. That is what I make my Art Gowns out of.
      I’m thrilled to be, although an unknown, part of this new age idea of art.

    1. So happy you read this, Lauren!
      The planet is mighty crowded, but we need to leave space for the animals…. and not just in zoos and preserves. xoxo

  8. HI Resa, it is interesting to think of an elephant, the world’s largest land mammal, balancing on a ball. It has always intrigued me that elephants have a reputation for being gentle. Of all the wild animals, I am the most wary of elephants because they can, and will, attack people in cars if they are provoked. An enraged elephant will roll a vehicle and trample it. I read recently about an elephant handler whose charge turned on him and killed him by trampling him to death.

    1. Roberta,
      You have a special perspective on the elephant. You live where they live.
      They are massive, and I am sure they can impose a lot of harm if they so choose.
      For whatever reasons they become enraged and/or dangerous, it is not right to make circus slaves of them. Nor, to kill them for tusks.
      Perhaps they are sick and tired of humans occupying their land, imprisoning them or killing them for tusks?
      I love all animals… even ones that might eat me… so I give space & respect.
      Thank you so much for this informed comment.
      It is so cool to have a blog pal that lives in Africa. Your perview is as exotic as you are.


        1. I know you do! Your Sir Chocolate books show lots of love, and your posts are all positive.
          I’m so excited to do a post about your children’s books!
          I just finished some drawings of Aster for my review of “Necromancer’s Daughter”. It is deeply dark here every day. I can’t take pics in such dim light, so I have set up the lights Tim sent me.
          I’ll shoot the drawings tomorrow. Then I can get on with the post.

          Hahaha! I just checked the forecast. Apparently we have 1 sunny day, 1 partly sunny over the next 2 weeks.

          So, I’m hoping to have the post done on Sunday. LOL!
          Honestly, a person could go mad with such little sun and such short days 😵‍💫 & long nights. 🤗

          1. Hi Resa, I am so delighted you like Michael and my Sir Chocolate books. They are supposed to be positive and filled with creativity and fantasy for children. I am very excited to see your pictures of Aster. I want to see how you captured her. I, of course, have my own ideas in my head. I am pleased you have those lights from Tim. I don’t know darkness like you describe, other than from literature and blogs, but it sounds a bit difficult for the spirit. We have sun nearly all year around here and there is only about a 90 minute difference between sunset and sunrise between winter and summer. I like our climate and I love our bush and animals. Lots of love to you, Resa.

            1. Yes, all that darkness is a spirit squasher.
              There are lots of depressed folks here in the winter. They say taking vitamin D helps. I do that, and being creative creates a sunshine of its own.

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  10. Well well well, look who thinks they’re the circus stars now, standing on those puny balls! I may not be able to balance on a ball, but at least I can climb a tree. #monkeybusiness

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  14. I think they should have left the Henry Moore. Circus elephants are being phased out together with the circuses and their freak shows. This I suppose is progress. But too slow. And too slow to save the elephants.

Speak your art mind!

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