Waiting For The Sparrows
76 x 61 x 4cm / 30 x 24 x 2″
Acrylic on canvas
The sides of the painting are finished in gold enamel
This painting has been acquired by The Irish Embassy in Korea.
“The Tiger and the Rabbit” tells a story of a powerful yet foolish tiger, who fails to catch a baby rabbit and instead runs into a series of bitter experiences which ultimately leads to his capture. The smart bunny manages to escape the danger whenever he runs into the hungry tiger by telling him he should first try rice cakes, then sparrows and finally fish – before eating him. This painting captures the tiger in a bamboo thicket after the rabbit has told him he has found a way to catch hundreds and thousands of sparrows if he just stays perfectly still, looks up at the sky and keeps his mouth open then the birds will fly into his mouth. When the rabbit says he is going into the thicket to chase the sparrows out and into the tiger’s mouth, he instead sets fire to a pile of dry leaves and twigs. The sound of them burning is just like the fluttering of thousands of sparrows. From a safe distance the rabbit tells the tiger that a lot of birds are flying his way and to continue to wait, all the while the fire is getting closer to the tiger. As the noise becomes louder and louder the tiger wonders why no birds have popped into his mouth. When he takes his eyes from the sky and looks around he is surrounded by a great ocean of fire. The tiger becomes frantic with fear and fights his way through the burning woods. Finally he escapes from the fire alive but his fur was all sizzled black and his skin looked like newly tanned hide. In the winter the tiger manages to trick the tiger again in a lake of ice in a foolish attempt to catch fish with his tail which ultimately leads him to becoming trapped in the ice and then captured and taken away by the local villagers. In commenting on this story writer Kim Myung-soo wrote: “Wisdom is much more valuable than physical power, especially when you are in danger. The bunny survives the danger, but tricks the tiger and puts him through bitter experiences. Would tricking others count as being wise? We should all think about the question.”