An anthropological research of the Hindu tradition to celebrate the harvest and bovine sacredness.
Art painted on a walking canvas: the cow is carrying the painting while being the painting itself. The project was a long course of study and travel, which lasted five years, to obtain the largest possible repertoire of an art that is disappearing and to leave testimony of it. This research led to produce 92 images of holy cows, exploring several Indian states —Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar, Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Rajasthan — visiting their high-density rural villages to find the cows dressed up for the celebration of Pongal, Wangala, Holi festivals.
Adorned with garlands of fresh flowers, with decorations of colourful shiny trinkets, the cows are prepared, and this is the most striking design element, painting their coat and horns with organic pigments that have specific references: the pink is used to reflect the color of the skin of Radharani, who is the companion of Krishna, the shepherd of the cows; the yellow of turmeric is the solar divinity that illuminates the world, and so on.
The pigments are thrown on the animal with an artistic flair that recalls the informal painting of Jackson Pollock.
The sacredness of the temple, the Go Puja, is celebrated by painting the bindi in the middle of the forehead of the animal, just like all the faithful humans.
After making the photograph, the animals were cropped, making them float on the milky white, to emphasize the artistic work done by the locals on the cows because the surrounding rural and bucolic scenery is so imbued with Indian folk icon to mitigate the stylistic and artistic contributions used to celebrate the perpetual ritual of life and the sanctity of the animal.— Toni Meneguzzo