Bournemouth Emerging Arts Festival (BEAF) has been postponed due to the coronavirus, but that hasn’t stopped organisers commissioning local artist Krishna Malla (aka Tech Moon), who has created an incredible mural that echoes Boscombe’s showbiz history.
Over a hundred years have past since travelling circuses like Billy Smart’s and Chapman’s Continental Zoo made their visits to Boscombe’s Hippodrome (now the 02 Academy) with their elephants in tow, parading down the high street between shows to attract audiences. These iconic and extremely popular events brought a variety of wild animals to the town but undoubtedly, the elephants were some of the most astounding. In his new mural, standing 6 metres high and 29 metres wide on the front of the Sovereign Centre, Krishna Malla has captured some of Boscombe’s exciting past.
Talking about his new work, Krishna explained the reason he chose elephants as his subject: “I want this mural to celebrate the rich history of Boscombe, and this magnificent creature, yet draw attention to animal welfare. We can marvel and appreciate the beauty of creatures such as this, immortalised across some 30 metres of wall without having to ride them in foreign countries or watch them dance in circuses.”
It seems a fitting tribute and gives local residents the chance to admire a work of art that they might not otherwise have had, with the postponement of this year’s festival. Carol Maund, the festival’s director, said: “As we had to postpone our festival this year, it was important to continue to support artists during lockdown and encourage creativity and the creation of art for the local community to enjoy. This mural has been part of a number of creative projects we have been delivering since the lockdown started. We want this mural to provide a much needed injection of positivity and celebration of the town’s history.”
The towering work of art has met the approval of Bournemouth’s Coastal BID, which supports BEAF, with Fiona McArthur adding: “Nothing quite turns the head like a herd of elephants.
“It is a magnificent sight and will attract visitors, which is what our retail areas really need when shops can re-open. It will also put smiles on faces.”
The creation has also sparked an opportunity for BCP residents, as BEAF is giving you a chance to get involved with a number of elephant-themed online activities. Not only can children make their very own elephant at home, the organisers are asking for help to name the elephants depicted in the mural. Visit their website or their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds to vote on names beginning with the letter ‘B’ or submit your own suggestion.