Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman is known for creating huge sculptures that tickle the masses. They’re often temporary, over-sized versions of stuffed animals and other toys. His works can usually be found in public spaces so that people can interact with them.
His most recent project to gain attention was the world-traveling giant rubber duck. His goal in doing so is to “give members of the public a break from their daily routines,” he explains.
So it makes perfect sense that he participated in Totally Thames, a month-long festival of arts and culture along the Thames River in London. For the event, Hofman created a 21-meter-long hippo, named the “Hippopothames,” out of overlapping wooden panels. In keeping with Hofman’s whimsical style, it features brightly painted features and a friendly expression.
If you’re wondering what hippos have to do with the Thames River, it’s because in prehistoric times, hippos actually did live along the riverbanks in this area.
Note the now-decommissioned Battersea Power Station in the background. It was home to another large animal–the Pink Floyd pig from Animals.
The hippo floats half-submerged in the water, and was towed upriver from its build site at Royal Docks to its final position at Nine Elms on the South Bank. By noticing and interacting with the sculpture, Hofman hopes that people will similarly be inspired to explore the Nine Elms area. Hippopothames will remain at this location until September 28th, 2014.