Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, David McKee’s beloved children’s character, has arrived at Elephant Park, London. A special trail of community-design sculptures that celebrate diversity and inclusivity have been installed to mark his 30th birthday.
Organised in conjunction with Wild in Art and Andersen Press, this is the first time an Elmer trail has been located in London. Ten specially-commissioned Elmer sculptures are now in place and they were designed by a range of local community groups and artists. Primary schools, pensioners, youth groups and local residents were all involved in the design of the sculptures, which can be found around Elephant Park and the surrounding area, including Trafalgar Place, South Gardens, Walworth Square and London’s newest independent retail destination, Sayer Street.
Elmer fans can also look forward to a special celebration day of free activities at Elephant Park on Thursday 29 August, featuring performances from the Blue Elephant Theatre, an Elmer-themed tea party and craft activities. Children will also get the chance to meet Elmer himself.
Children and adults of all ages can follow the trail free of charge, with each of the Elmer sculptures including a special anagram for trail walkers to solve. Once visitors have solved every anagram, they are able to input their answers to the Elephant Park website for a chance to win a special Elmer prize pack.
The trail will be in place until late October, after which the Elmer sculptures will be auctioned, with all proceeds from the sales being used to support local community causes.
Libraries across Southwark will also be joining in with the Elmer fun, with dedicated areas and displays of all things Elmer during the trail period. Special Elmer-themed storytelling events, and parent and baby sessions are set to take place at the libraries during the week beginning 16th September.
David McKee, Author and Creator of Elmer The Patchwork Elephant, commented: “It has been fantastic to see Elmer go off on his own adventures over the past 30 years, but never has he appeared in his namesake, Elephant Park. I can’t wait to see generations of Londoners coming together in Elephant Park to see these colourful, inspiring, brilliant sculptures based on Elmer.”
Charlie Langhorne, Co-founder and Managing Director of Wild in Art, said: “We passionately champion the importance of art for everybody and the social, cultural and educational benefits which it provides. The Elmer sculptures are a fantastic spectacle and showcase a wonderful wealth of artistic talent. We hope everyone will enjoy discovering them.”
The local community groups that have designed an Elmer sculpture at Elephant Park are:
• Notre Dame School
• Victory Primary School
• Southwark Pensioners Centre
• Young Artists with Autism Collective
• Espacio Mama
• Southwark Playhouse Youth Group
• E&C Residents – Draper Together
• London College of Communications
• Elephant Says Hi
David McKee has written and written and illustrated 27 Elmer books, with the first published by Andersen Press in 1989 and the latest, Elmer’s Birthday, set for release in September. The books have been praised in how they encourage children to respect each others’ differences and have confidence in their own true colours. The Elmer franchise has become an international success, selling 10m books worldwide in over 50 languages.
The trail follows hugely successful Elmer’s ‘Big Art Parades’ in Tyne and Wear, Suffolk and Plymouth which are all raising funds for their local hospice charity, and will finish later this year with sculptures being auctioned off to raise funds.