H3.2 × W6.2 × D2.5
1993 (45 days)
Although ants are very small, and don’t seem very impressive, the display a spirit worthy of respect and admiration. They have a social and organizational structure wherein tasks are divided up in an orderly and sequential way, a mystery that biologists even to this day have not solved. Worker ants forage for food and build the nest, while soldier ants stand guard and protect it. A sense of responsibility and honor rests on those weak and slender six legs. How much weight can they carry? How far can they go? And they can follow a path marked by secreted signals back to their starting point. That degree of loyalty, durability, ability to withstand pressure is something from which we should learn. Moved from the outset by the ant’s ability to carry heavy loads, I raised a colony of them and observed them every day, continuously and leisurely enjoying them. Ants are already completely internalized into my creative life and an important presence integrated into my philosophy of life. A large work of a group of ants can be plotted out and rendered freely; a tiny work depicting a single ant can make one feel happy and smile at a job well done! This is a creator’s greatest ardor—selecting what you love and loving what you select with no complaint or regret, just like a taciturn ant…
Looking then at the boxwood sculpted version, the effect is totally different. Without the eye-catching golden attire, the wooden ant returns to its original hue, and thus appears simple and unadorned, with nothing flashy; yet, one still can’t take one’s eyes off it. One stares at it to see if this original sized ant is real or carved. This is a startling self challenge! The veins of the boxwood carved leaf are similarly spectacularly detailed. The original appearance of the wood is easy on the eyes because it is not an eye-catching brilliance. Gradually carving a single ant out of a block of wood is a form of cultivating virtue in life: concentration, deep passion, familiarity, project, I am the ant; the ant is me, total immersion and experimentation. Success at meeting the challenge leaves one full of a sense of accomplishment and feeling blessed!
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