“It’s truly amazing to see these intelligent creatures be creative,” said British tourist Fanny Lexington, unaware that Mai-Mai was repeatedly whipped to paint the portrait she was admiring. “He does a great self-portrait of himself painting with zookeepers around him holding lassos and bamboo sticks, though I’m not sure why there’s so much red paint.”
Mai-Mai has also used his artistry to illustrate his physical abuse, isolation and forced labour that has even amazed some of his most cruel tormentors.
“Mai-Mai is a very special elephant,” said zookeeper Santi Ganokpon who captured and sold Mai-Mai’s family to a Burmese ivory dealer. “He has painted all of the zookeepers in a morbid and dark way. I imagine he was inspired by Picasso’s Blue Period for many of his works.”
At press time, Mai-Mai was completing a work describing the utter humiliation and defeat he feels when tourists get on his back for a ride around the compound.