I recently saw the Life of Pi movie by Ang Lee twice. I had read the book by Yan Martel several times, and since I loved all the spiritualism and symbolism in the story, I created a colorful Arborglyph monoprint on that theme in 2005.
Just a FEW WORDS in my artwork that convey all the THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, AND VISUAL IMAGES that I got from that incredible Life of Pi story are: sink, ship, swells, shelter, sunshine, sharks, selfish, sacred, sacrifice, security, religion, reality, reason, routine, passage, predator, protect, fear, fish, fight, hope, horizon, zebra, zoo, alpha, omega, animal, instinct, illusions, illumination, meerkats, map, world, wet, waves, wind, weary, wish, will, deprivation, danger, delirium, determination, dignity, dolphins, death, darkness, think, threaten, territory, trials, tiger, teamwork, taming, and … TAMING THE TIGER!
The multiple levels of humor and seriousness, life and death, animal instinct and spirituality, god and man, fear and wonder, reality and illusion, self-determination and guidance; are all explored in the book and the movie. You can read or watch Life of Pi many times, questioning, wondering, and gaining more insight.
For a humorous example, the hero, Picene Patel was named after a swimming pool (picene) and in grade school was constantly ridiculed over his name… ‘Pissing Patel’. Cleverly, he changed his name to Pi, a mathematical symbol, which shows you how bright he really was in a challenging situation. His curiosity often got him into major trouble, but also enlightened him with the best attributes of three religions. His beliefs in both multiple gods/one god provided strength for him while stranded at sea for an eternity. Like the Pi symbol whose decimal representation never ends, his lifeboat experience goes on and on…
My use of the Arborglyph – P symbols in my monoprint is reminiscent of both Pi’s name and also the CHI RHO CROSS. I wanted to convey both a sense of mystery and a spiritual element. Interestingly, the Chi Rho Cross was supposedly used by Constantine in a major battle over territory and helped him accomplish a difficult win over his enemy. Another account “credits his victory to divine intervention”. In the Life of Pi, Pi (Picene) is also faced with major hurdles to survive in a small territory that both he and his enemy (Richard Parker the tiger) want to claim. Was it self will power or divine intervention that helped Pi survive? While Constantine saw his Chi Rho symbol in the sky, Pi also saw wonders of the almighty maker through the beauty of the sea and the sky, which was superbly portrayed in the Ang Lee movie. The turquoise waters and the rust colored tiger stripes were gorgeous! It’s a beautiful story told in many ways… a book, a movie, a piece of artwork.