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Indian elephant working in the logging industry
Acrylic on masonite, 32 13/16 x 24 in. (1998)

The literal translation of the script above is "wood farmer".

This is a kind of hommage to animals in the support of human activity. Like the draught horses in En Draught and One Horsepower, this Indian Elephant is working the forests also, though a more temperate forest in Sri Lanka.

Forester is a kind of allegory on the theme of Endangered Species. In this case, the endangerment of the self through sewing the seeds of one's own destruction.

The literally head-strong Indian Elephant marshals huge mahogany logs at the bidding (and pike point) of the mahout. It is hard, endlessly repetitive work to move these hand-hewn fiber monsters through the undergrowth onto trains or lorry transports.

    The faster they work,
    the more they move,
    the more they load,
    the more money and feed they get.

    If left to man and beast alone,
    perhaps the natural forest can
    maintain them.

    If man and beast are not enough,
    it is the maw of the machinery
    that now needs to feed,
    leaving slow methodical beast and mahout
    without their work.

    Among the endangered woods,
    add the mahout and beast to the displaced
    birds, grubs and tiger.
    Perhaps mahout can re-train, move on to
    richer pastures.
    What is an elephant to do?

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P.O. Box 659, Winchester, Ontario. K0C 2K0   613-774-5180
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