Little Mac and Sujatha: Elephants Who Paint

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Little Mac and Sujatha: Elephants Who Paint

Sujatha is on the left, Little Mac is on the right. The canvas is blanked out in this photo as the VADA Draw paintings are chosen “blind,” meaning the people picking out artworks don’t know who painted them. We don’t want to spoil the fun by revealing the elephants’ artwork before the event.

Little Mac and Sujatha, elephants at the Santa Barbara Zoo, are known for their unique artistic talents.

These two elephants spend their days getting pedicures, eating 250 pounds of fruits and vegetables, and making paintings. Though they can’t see the colors they are painting with very well, they make beautiful pieces by painting with their trunks.

They paint using slightly different techniques, but both of them accent their paintings with “trunk kisses.”

One of Little Mac and Sujatha’s paintings will be displayed and auctioned at the annual VADA Draw fundraiser on February 26.

VADA students meet Sujatha and Little Mac.

Jenna Comstock is fourth from the right, with glasses on her head.

The elephants prepare to begin painting on a canvas held by Allie Cole, a junior at Santa Barbara High School.

Sujatha has much floppier ears, and is slightly larger and older than Little Mac (who turned 45 on Valentine’s Day). Little Mac recently had dental surgery, and was able to gain the 1,000 pounds she needed to in order to stay alive and healthy. They eat lots of fruits and vegetables, as well as hay and bird of paradise.

Last year, Little Mac and Sujatha got to choose the flavor of the signature beer for the Zoo’s beer tasting event. They chose a dark chocolate and licorice stout, quite different than their everyday diet!

When the VADA Student Leadership Council went to visit the elephants and watch them paint, we all got to feed them and see them up close. We got to know both of their personalities – Little Mac is shy and very smart, and Sujatha is cute and outgoing. They are quite different, but they love living together.

The keepers at the Santa Barbara Zoo love taking care of Little Mac and Sujatha. One of the keepers joked, “you do pick up poop… but it’s the best career ever.”

The elephants get a lot of love from the visitors at the Zoo as well, being one of the most popular destinations at the Zoo.

Mac and Sujatha are adorable and sweet, and they’ve got more talent in their trunks than most elephants have in their whole bodies.

Jenna Comstock

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Jenna Comstock is a senior at Santa Barbara High School’s Visual Art & Design Academy.