DIVINE BOVINE — TONI MENEGUZZO
It was love at first sight: by chance, one day six years ago, in Tamil I met a decorated holy cow. I could not resist its charm: I simply loved the use of colors on the surface of the cow, an expression of visual art on a walking canvas, the cow that was carrying the painting on itself.
I then started the long quest of exploration of Hindu tradition of dressing and adorning sacred cows. A five-year long process of study and travel, to achieve the largest possible repertoire of an art that is disappearing and leave testimony, since there is no reference literature. I explored many states in India – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar, Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Rajasthan – visiting its densely rural places to find cows dressed up for the celebration of Pongal, Wangala, Holi festivals.
Once the work was finished, I cut out the animals making them float in the milky white, to delete the surrounding rustic scenery so full of iconography from Indian folk that it weakens the stylistic and artistic contributions used, in order to celebrate the ritual of perpetual life and the sacredness of the animal.
(from a text by Toni Meneguzzo)