Street art Nelly the Elephant appears in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

New street art Nelly the Elephant has appeared on the side of an old factory building near the cross of Shepherd Street and Doncaster Street in Sheffield, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

This art, named Nelly the Elephant and Her Unnamed Baby, was created by local artist Robin Loxley and symbolises the many women and children who have fled the now war-torn Ukraine. 

Mr Loxley reutilised an old chimney on a derelict building as Nelly the Elephant’s trunk within the artwork which can be found near St Vincent’s Quarter.

“I would describe it as repurposed art – I have turned an existing thing into a new creation. I saw the chimney on the building and it was a little bit sad to think at one stage that would’ve been a smoking chimney which was a thriving industry and now disused so I thought it would be good to re-purpose it.

“I instantly thought it looked like a trunk of an elephant and that was where the idea came about,” said Mr Loxley.

The use of elephants is also a tribute to Sheffield’s Lizzie, an elephant which worked hard during World War I to keep the city’s industries going.

Her strength was equivalent to three horses, making her role key on keeping the Ward Company going during the Great War.

Mr Loxley compared his art to the rhyme, Nelly the Elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus.

He said: “It is an emotion about the war because Nelly and a child is supposed to be related to the people fleeing from Ukraine and there were so many unknown children who were leaving the war zone with no name or no one knew their name.”

He added: “I’m trying to put my point across but as I always say art is in the eye of the beholder. You can interpret that in a different way and that’s the beauty of art.”

This art is the second one created by Robin Loxley and there’s still more coming out. The first one is also an anti-war paste-up about Russia’s invasion, and tells “the other side of the story where this was the person who created the misery for so many people.”

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