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Mali returns to Children’s Garden

The Gardens’ ‘Endangered Asia’ elephant sculpture today returned to its permanent home in the Bamboo Forest section of the Children’s Garden after time-out for a touch up.

It's perfect timing, too, with the Children's Garden open every day from this Friday (20 December) from 10am to sunset for the school holiday period.

Painted by Latrobe Valley artist Kelly Just, ‘Endangered Asia’ highlights the plight of a range of endangered species such as orang-utans, tigers and giant pandas and was created as part of Melbourne Zoo’s ‘Mali in the City’ celebrations in 2012. A generous donation by The Ian Potter Foundation enabled the Gardens to purchase the sculpture.

After almost 12 months in the Children’s Garden, the 630 kilogram, 1.6 metre high fibreglass sculpture was in need of a refresh. Kelly returned to the Gardens during October and November to spruce up her creation which was then finished with a coat of clear varnish.

As Kelly explains, the sculpture has been a labour of love from start to (re)finish.

“It took about three months to paint initially,” she explained.

“During that time it lived in my family’s lounge room! I’m the eldest of seven so there was lots of help, with my siblings helping to paint the toenails,” she said.

‘Endangered Asia’ can be seen in the Bamboo Forest section of the Children’s Garden.