Elephantum Elephantum Affordable Art 65982
Helen Francis - Elephantum | Spiritual Art Original Art
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Helen Francis - "Elephantum"


Oil on Canvas, US$ 1,000


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Oil on Canvas

W: 920mm x H: 610mm x D: 40mm
W: 36" x H: 24" x D: 2"

Approx. Weight: 1.5kg

This work is unframed


US$ 1,000


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About "Elephantum"

Inspired by the book 'Elephantums' author Llyal Watson

Here the San is in trance holding his walking stick and not his spear.
His respect for the virtually extinct Knysna Elephant has made him one with the Elephant.

The trance dance & eland potency
Rock art shares the same San religion, consisting of San trance or San power. If San religious beliefs are understood then the rock art can be explained. The San believed in a tiered cosmos with realms above and below the material world. Once an eland had been killed, a link between the realms was created. The eland (often depicted with shamans) was a main symbol of trance due to its fat, the prime container and essence of trance. Rites of passage are initiated with eland fat. These include: marriage, boys and girls initiation (with the boys first successful eland hunt), and trancing. Once an eland was killed, a shaman would ‘dance eland potency’ and enter the spirit world, often depicted in rock art. The shaman would go through a trance, seemingly gaining animal senses, and enter the spirit world. Once in the spirit world, they could make contact with God and important spirits. The shaman would be given supernatural power in these meetings. There is a key aspect of the San belief that needs consideration: everything that is taken from nature must meet the needs and must not be more than what is required. Anything that is taken has to have a purpose and must meet the needs of the community.

The hunter's dance in Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe, San religious concepts are similar to those of South Africa, however the eland is replaced by the elephant and other animals. The elephant is depicted as being hunted, with people surrounding it and firing arrows at it. The elephant has been pierced by many arrows and drips blood. In many cases the arrows have large triangular crossed and barbed heads. However it would be impossible to kill the elephant with blunt arrows tips (as is frequently painted) because the elephant's thick hide could not be penetrated with blunt arrows. These hunts are a metaphor for trance dance. In San religion the elephant blood is an icon of elephant potency and also trancer potency. In both potency icons, the trance of the hunter or death of the elephant is induced. In Zimbabwe the elephant can also be interchanged with the buffalo or lions and buffalos bleeding profusely may be symbolic of shedding rain in San religion as well as blood and potency. Moreover these are not the only power animals depicted, rhebok and hartebeest are also in rock art (in places such as Cederberg and Warm Bokkeveld).

Helen Francis

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About Helen

Helen Francis

Helen has been passionate about art for as long as she can remember. At the age of 38 she charictaristically took her usual bold step towards her first art lesson.

She has not had formal art training but received art tuition from Donna Downey and also Peter Millard who was a student of the late Adriaan Boshoff. Helen enjoys painting portraits, figures, landscapes and abstracts. Helen works in oils and often explores multi-media compositions.

Her passion for painting has taken her in so many directions from detailed work, vibrant mystical work to free and bright colors of abstract. With her use of bright, bold colors, she beautifully reflects the vibrancy of her subjects. Her paintings also portray her sense of fun and her light-hearted and positive attitude towards life.

She adopted an entrepreneurial way from early on, continuing to Executive Management and committing to developing herself within a participative, serving leadership path for the last thirty five years.

Helen is a creative leader, with a strong ability to formulate innovative development ideas, having lead and optimised organisations of varying complexities and sizes in the Social, Public and Corporate sectors. She is an experienced negotiator and as a member of the national and international Business & Professional Women's Association, channels her energy towards the upliftment of previously disadvantages individuals.

She continues to live her passion for empowerment as protector and facilitator of leadership development, through African fusion leadership, focusing her talents and skills on the authentic empowerment and development of women.

Price Range

US$ 179-1,000



Wilderness Art & Crafts Market
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Oudtshoor Arts & Crafts Market
Diaz Hotel Gallery, Diaz Beach, Mossel Bay
Vaalpark Arts & Crafts Market


Student of Pieter Millard, Donna Downey and Maggie v Schalkwyk

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