I may be long dead, but my skull is back alive, crowned by luminous antlers of inordinate span. How would you feel parading around with such stately headgear ? Remember: when standing at a clearing’s edge, slowly lift your head, gaze circumspectly, and project your aura with majesty.
Wapiti Aura, 2018
58" × 40" × 25"
Natural urushi lacquer, 24-carat gold, abalone shell, on elk skull
Hand-wrought iron anchor
Every time I present Wapiti Aura, depending on location and lighting, he reveals another part of himself not seen before. Look at the pictures around.
The two images just above show how his striking face appeared to the camera the first time I photographed it in my studio. The interplay of light and shadow, both in and out of the skull and the roots of the antlers, was truly magical, even mystical. Wapiti was breathing again, his spirit shining anew.
A few months later, Wapiti Aura was exhibited at Art Santa Fe 2018 Contemporary Art Show. He reigned quietly at the center of my booth’s backwall, playing well with other works around him. Despite his modesty, his poise attracted a lot of admirers and earned himself a best of show award!
Soon thereafter, there was an exhibition organized at Gallery 924, the home of the Arts Council of Indianapolis. The exhibition honored the first five recipients of the Christel De Haan Artist of Distinction Award. The second studio picture above was selected for the show’s poster, as one can see on the left side of the entrance to Gallery 924 (below left). Inside, Wapiti was busy projecting his aura all around, and his shadow exploded with powerful grace on the wall behind him, as shown just below right.
The last picture here at right was taken in mid November 2019 at a private exhibition in the house of a great friend and art patron of mine. Wapiti Aura made such an intriguing appearance at that particular spot on a wall. Under a high spotlight, Wapiti revealed himself even more: a complete body with a long elegant neck and such a beautiful wingspan!
These images cannot convey enough the powerful feeling he projected onto us all through his aura! On each occasion, he managed to impersonate another being. I am wondering how many facets of him are waiting to be discovered ?
There were several people who wanted to take him home but couldn’t find a place that would fit him. I believe and hope that one day he will find a really good home for deploying his magnificent antlers… If you would, dear viewer, please spread the word out to help Wapiti find the home he is meant to inspire.