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Physical work may strain my behind
But the heavier labour is in my mind
But the cow stays strong pulling carts all day
I too will get through; I will find my way
Back in 2009, during the period of my internship in London, UK, I watched a series of performances at Trafalgar Square on Chinese New Year. In the opening, the hosts welcomed the Year of the Ox. As that was a period after the recession began, the hosts talked about how the ox is a strong animal that endures hardship, and that during this difficult period we too have to be strong. Although our hardship is perhaps more commonly in the mind while the cow endures physical labour – hence I use the pencil to represent the labour and hardship in the mind.
As the idea came up in my head, I thought it would look like the sculpture just outside of the Pantheon in Rome, Italy. The statue, designed by the Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (and carried out by his pupil Ercole Ferrata in 1667) is called Pulcino della Minerva (Minerva’s Pulcino), which features an elephant carrying an obelisk on its back:
Coincidentally enough, Alexander VII, who commissioned the sculpture, was thinking along the same lines as me – the Latin inscription on the base of the sculpture is said to represent that “..a strong mind is needed to support a solid knowledge”. (source: Wikipedia) – I was in Rome just before the London internship and have seen this in person.
Cow was folded from a 15×15mm piece of paper. Pencil is taped to a piece of foam core with the cow tucked underneath it as it would’ve been physically impossible to balance a pencil on the cow. And yes I did use that pencil right to the end; it is the same one I drew for Drawing Day 2008
Taken with a Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS on macro mode; natural lighting.
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