The Orphans Brown Bears 2013 black Biro drawing
The second drawing of Brown Bears diptych The Orphans is inspired by Ivan Shishkin’s painting Morning in a Pine Forest 1889, is one of Russia’s most popular paintings which depicts three bear cubs and their mother. All traces of the mother bear are removed from The Orphans drawing and an ethereal forest setting is created as their playground. Eerie creatures are formed from pine branch and foliage patterns inspired by the Rorschach Inkblot Test, and evoke the precarious world in which the cubs inhabit without their mother’s protection. A large bear cub balancing on the main branch looks across at a ghostly mirror image of itself. This indicates the legacy den hunting creates for young bears. On a another branch (far left) bear siblings play through the ghosts of previous orphans in the form of Shishkin’s painted bears. On the lower trunk is an image of the face of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear, an orphaned Syrian brown bear adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps in WWII. The symbolism of Wojtek implies the same question posed in Mummy Bear and Baby Bear - what has happened to the cubs father, is he a victim of den hunting too? Depicted below the face of Wojtek is the Polish regimental badge which portrayed Wojtek carrying artillery ammunition.