Recent Art Projects


           Melbourne Zoo's 150th Birthday - 'Mali in the City' Project

Not many people can say they’ve seen an elephant up close, let alone caress one, but for local artist Michael Skilney that was just another day at the office in recent months ... if only at arm’s (and paintbrush’s) length.  

The Glenhuntly resident is one of the 50 artists who’ve taken part in Melbourne Zoo’s ‘Mali in the City’ project. Helping publicise the prestigious zoo’s 150th birthday on October 6, 50 Zoo sponsors were each given life-sized elephant sculptures to paint that will reside in public spaces across the city from August 10 – September 21.

Skilney, whose elephant is sure to turn the heads of those living near or visiting Melbourne’s iconic Argyle Square in the Carlton precinct, was commissioned by all-natural skincare brand Botani to create a design that embodied their philosophy.

“Vegan friendly and against animal testing, olives and organic plant actives are the basis of Botani’s products which inspired my artwork,” he said.

“Lygon Street’s multicultural community and in particular, its Mediterranean eateries that also utilise the olive, are the perfect backdrop for the botanical themed design.”

As an animal loving brand known for its vegan friendly skin care products, Botani needed little convincing to get involved. For founder Barbara Filokostas, helping the Zoo raise much-needed funds and awareness for animal conservation projects during the festivities is the most rewarding part of the ‘Mali in the City’ experience.

 “As natural beauty enthusiasts, caring for our natural environment and precious wildlife are just as important to Botani as caring for one’s skin,” Filokostas said.

Skilney’s Botani sculpture will be auctioned off on October 25 at Melbourne Zoo’s Leopard Lodge with all proceeds going directly to Zoos Victoria. Potential buyers can register their interest to attend the ‘Mali in the City Auction’ via email at


The Butterfly Foundation 'Body Image' Fundraising Exhibition