I shouldn’t be promoting Mercedes Benz but this commercial is pretty creative. Even the most common animal that we take for granted are amazing.

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Last month I stumbled upon Xiang Jing’s retrospective at MOCA Taipei. I’m usually not particularly drawn to figurative sculptures but there’s something incredibly powerful in Xiang Jing’s works. She’s fluent in the language of emotions and can bring out the subtlest of expressions. I also love how her women characters are full of insecurity, defiance, and imperfection. They are also sometimes perversely cruel or indifferent.  The experience of seeing the work in person is akin to stepping into a story unfolding, or a movie scene suspended in time.

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One of my favorite classic Chinese painters is Bada Shanren (1626–1705) of the Ming dynasty. It’s not uncommon to depict animals in Chinese ink paintings but the animals in Bada Shanren’s paintings are unconventionally spirited. They are often slightly distorted and carry a look of mistrust.

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falling blossoms—
birds too are startled:
the dust of the koto
chiru hana ya / tori mo odoroku / koto no chiri 

swarming in the waterweeds,
the whitefish: if taken in hand
they would vanish away
mo ni sudaku / shirauo ya toraba / kienubeki 

foolishly, in the dark,
he grabs a thorn:
hunting fireflies
gu ni kuraku / ibara o tsukamu / hotaru kana

in summer rains
the crane’s legs
become short
samidare ni / tsuru no ashi / mijikaku nareri

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