Giant hippo appears at Nine Elms for Totally Thames festival

Organisers of London riverside festival Totally Thames have celebrated its launch with a giant hippopotamus in the river, known as 'HippopoThames'.

HippopoThames swam up the river to Nine Elms
HippopoThames swam up the river to Nine Elms

The 21m installation was created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and was towed upriver yesterday (2 September) from its build site at the Royal Docks to its end position at Nine Elms.

The semi-immersed structure, realised by the Thames Festival Trust with support from the Mayor of London, the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, Wanda One UK and Vauxhall One, is set to rise and fall with the tide each day.

HippopoThames will stay in situ throughout the month-long festival until 28 September. It is the first UK commission for Hofman, who is known for creating large sculptures of everyday objects. The choice of a hippo was inspired by the prehistoric life in the river.

Hofman said: "I am thrilled and excited to be using the Thames as the location of my first UK commission. The purpose of setting my sculptures in the public domain has always been to give members of the public a break from their daily routines, to inspire conversation and to cause astonishment. 

"I hope the location of my sculpture on the Thames will inspire passers-by to engage with its surrounding area of Nine Elms on the South Bank, and to discover the various other events within the Totally Thames programme celebrating London’s river." 

Totally Thames festival will see more than 100 educational and cultural events take place across the 17 riverside boroughs, including festivals, regattas, river races and charity events.

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