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27 June 2012

Four life-sized elephant calf sculptures have gone on display for two weeks in the iconic Myer windows.

It's a preview of the main event, when 50 life-sized sculptures inspired by Asian Elephant calf Mali will be on view around the city, from August 10th to September 21st.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, author/illustrator Graeme Base, and artist Elise Martinson joined Melbourne Zoo Director Kevin Tanner to launch the Mali at Myer preview.

The Lord Mayor told the launch audience that "The Melbourne Zoo is a much-loved Melbourne icon, and what better way to celebrate 150 years of service than to bring a part of the Zoo to Melbourne streets?

"This unique public art event is a fantastic commemoration of the Melbourne Zoo; the sculptures themselves will transform our public spaces and showcase local artists. It is a generous and creative commemoration of the important role the Melbourne Zoo has played in our city's history.

"The City of Melbourne congratulates the Melbourne Zoo on its 150th Anniversary and is proud to support the Mali in the City exhibition."

The Mali sculptures in the Myer windows are the four created by Graeme Base, project patron David Bromley, Elise Martinson, and Mali herself.

Graeme Base has a longstanding link with Melbourne Zoo, and says he was surprised and delighted by the coincidence of being invited to paint a Mali sculpture when he was already immersed in elephant-themed art, completing his latest book ‘Little Elephants' due out in October. Children from the Melbourne City School were very excited to see Graeme Base in the window with his Mali artwork, and he later autographed the books they had brought along to the launch.

Melbourne Zoo Director Kevin Tanner says "The 50 Malis are being decorated by a wide variety of artists from throughout our community, from professional and awarded artists to university students, all showing their strong interest in wildlife conservation."

He explained that there is also a mini-Mali sculpture program currently underway in 54 schools around Victoria, and that the schools-decorated sculptures will be on display at Melbourne Zoo from September 22, along with the 50 life-sized sculptures after they have been on view throughout the city.

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