South African artist Andries Botha has constructed some of the most life-like elephant sculptures over the course of his artistic career. The artist is known for incorporating traditional elements and using raw materials like driftwood to produce his mammoth creatures. His public installation piece titled You Can Buy My Heart and My Soul, originally installed for Beautfort’s second Triennial of Contemporary Art by the Sea in 2006, replicates a family of elephants trailing along the coastlines in Beligium.
With a team of 10 African artists, Botha labored over the detailed figures to create lifelike renditions of the majestic creatures that could easily fool visitors with their realistic silhouettes. Each sculpture is made of driftwood and layers of wooden plates bolted down to a metallic skeleton. The construction and materials are comparable to that of Heather Jansch’s driftwood horse sculptures, though their environments and messages differ. With this installation Botha’s intentions were not confined to simply representing an elegant animal, but to draw attention to the importance of perseverance through the creatures’ tireless efforts and subsequently the amount of diligent labor put into each figure.