Mali in the City Program

August, 2012 - September, 2012

The Melbourne Medical School was not the only Melbourne institution to be turning 150 in 2012. The Melbourne Zoo also had 150 candles on their birthday cake.  

There has been a longstanding connection between the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and the Melbourne Zoo, particularly through the Anatomy school, as well as through James Guest, an elder statesman of the graduates of the Melbourne Medical School and the inaugural President of the Friends of the Zoo. 
 
To celebrate this joint milestone, the Faculty was excited to be taking part in Zoos Victoria’s Mali in the City Program; a public art event that saw 50 life-sized baby elephant sculptures, named after the zoo’s most famous Asian elephant calf, exhibited around Melbourne for six weeks in August and September. The fiberglass sculptures were designed and decorated by a variety of Australian artists, including internationally renowned artists David Bromley and Mirka Mora.
 
On behalf of the Medical School, the 150th team chose a fabulous design by young artist, Antonia Marshall, entitled ‘The Frank Realities’. Antonia Marshall’s background is in Printmaking and Painting and she has spent the last year exploring the vibrant street art culture in Melbourne through work with various art galleries and street art collectives. 
 
In July, Professor James Angus and Professor James Best hosted a dinner to celebrate the 150th birthdays of both institutions and to unveil our Mali design. Board members of Zoos Victoria, including Chairman Andrew Fairley were present, as well as the Dean of Vetinary Sciences, Professor Ken Hinchcliff, and James Guest. 
In his speech at the Dinner, Professor Best referred to  another strong connection, which is medical graduate William Colin Mackenzie, who set up Healesville Sanctuary from a small holding he had purchased in 1920. 
 
The MMS Mali (pictured) was installed outside the medical building on Grattan Street on August 10 and remained there until mid September. The beautiful sculpture attracted many visitors and admirers, many of whom were trekking around the city, ticking off all 50 sculptures. 
 
After six weeks all the elephants were herded back to the Melbourne Zoo, and auctioned off to raise money for Zoos Victoria, with proceeds going to support their wildlife conservation efforts. 
 
The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences was delighted to have had the chance to support such a wonderful organisation in their 150th year and hope that the relationship continues to strengthen into the future. 
 
Mali outside the Medical Building