Spanking New Painting: Figure 8’s & Elephants

I’m excited to unveil a new, never before seen painting. This is also the last painting I’ll be releasing for 2009.  Enjoy!

Figure 8’s & Elephants
a.k.a. Balance & Babar

Acrylic on Canvas | 36 x 36 inches | Summer 2009
(Click for enlarged image)

Synopsis: This piece was inspired by many things, but mostly the pursuit of balance and my love for elephants. In a technical sense, I wanted to challenge myself to practice the principle of patience by creating a piece that required precision and meticulous design.  Patience is one of my greatest weaknesses–thus, through painting and the creative process I strive to improve my overall virtues.  While the overall design is tight, I stayed loose with the brushwork.

The pursuit of balance and my love for elephants both fall under the umbrella of Buddhism.  While I have many goals in life, my ultimate goal is to achieve balance.  I strive for balance in my life everyday.  Balance is a constant battle for me because I’m always trying to do everything at once.  Trying to achieve balance between my painting and my writing, production and promotion, family and friends, work and pleasure, activism and art, scholastic research and creative explorations, everything.   One of my greatest realizations in the pursuit of balance is understanding that balance can be achieved in the long term–not everything needs to be immediate.  Sometimes, I get so caught up in the present moment by doing everything at the same time, that I fall completely out of balance.  I’ve realized that you don’t have to prove yourself all at once.  I have the rest of my life to do all the things I want to do, and with time and patience, I can do them all to ultimately live a life of balance.

Elephants are fucking awesome for many reasons.  They are highly revered creatures in Southeast Asian culture and Buddhism (holla).  They are communal animals who ride and die together, not like the individualistic culture capitalist America cultivates.  I’ve always been intrigued by elephants because they are gargantuan as shit!  They can crush your puny existence.  But they don’t, because they are very peaceful animals.  Even in their colossal mass, elephants can walk as light as a feather, while still moving the earth with every step.  And that’s exactly what I want to do.  I want to move the world.  With peace, not with force.  I love elephants.  And that’s why I got a tattoo of one.



Filed under The Living Stroke

2 responses to “Spanking New Painting: Figure 8’s & Elephants

  1. dian

    hey sahra!

    how are you doing?? it’s been forever. i love your blog – i’ve been keeping up with it and it’s really been a pleasure to read.

    i also really love this painting, and i never thought about it before, but yes, elephants are pretty awesome. also love the alliteration in the title for it, but i wonder, did you choose babar on purpose?

    what i’ve learned in one of my classes on globalization is that babar might have actually an allegory that was used to justify french colonialism:

    -Babar starts out an elephant walking on all fours, not wearing anything.
    -His mother is killed by a poacher. Then an old French lady rescued him, taught him, dressed him, sent him out to convert the other elephants – so she had a “civilizing mission.”
    -Babar’s old “culture” was ignorance, fear, laziness, etc. – this had to be gotten rid of before this civilizing mission could happen
    – SO new ideals come in – hard work, hope, courage, etc. (there’s an illustration here showing those words in French)
    -BUT Babar still remains an elephant and can’t become a human (like how the now “civilized” Africans can’t become French) – so there is forever a gap, a difference, a hierarchy, and difference becomes equal with inequality, inferiority

    but there are conflicting schools of thought about babar, so it’s just one of a couple of theories…just thought you might like to know in case you didn’t already (if you did, sorry to blab on an on! haha.)

    i hope you’re doing well! keep writing! 🙂

    • sahra


      dian, that theory is fucking awesome. honestly, you’re right. i think i’ve been in denial all these years. i wanted to keep it as an innocent childhood remnant. facing the reality of french colonization is terrifying…esp since you know Vietnam was colonized by the French!!!

      DAMN!!!! maybe i shouldn’t call it babar anymore… =P

      i’m shooting you a facebook message soon. xo

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