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Roaming Elephants Mural in Port Orford, Oregon

It is said that a “picture is worth a thousand words.”  Murals are pictures and therefore suggestive and expressive and very powerful.  Artist Matt Shapira uses his murals of Roaming Elephants to shed light on the plight of these magnificent creatures: Loss of habitat, being poached for their ivory, spending their lives in captivity.  He believes that in order to see the world, you must “Roam like an elephant,” and that his murals depict the feelings he gets when he thinks of the giant creatures. He has painted these murals throughout the world, including Nepal, Thailand, Zambia, France, Jamaica, Wales, England, India, Niagara Falls, Missouri and now, Port Orford, Oregon. Painting in different countries and locales, he listens to the voices behind him—the languages, the dialects—and they influence the color palette he chooses to create each unique mural.  They become the “undercurrent, subtle and symbolic.”

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Many years ago, a Port Orford artist was inspired to cover a blank surface with a mural. That became the inspiration for other local artists, all wanting to beautify their little town with artwork. Today, there is hardly any wall that is unadorned. Being a town by the sea, many of the murals are of sea life: whales, fishes, crabs even a mermaid and Neptune make an appearance. Then, there are the scenes specific to the walls they sit upon, like at the Library which is the first mural you will see upon arriving in town (from the north). A wonderful depiction of fairy tales and children’s books, this whimsical panorama on the Library’s north enclosure will delight any child in the car. Featuring castles and pirate ships, fairies and ballerinas, ninjas and even a couple of swashbuckling mice, your child can perhaps name the various books these images are drawn from.

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