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  • Ray Monde

What my teddy bear taught me about idolatry

When you think about religious art, the first thing that comes to mind for many is little baby Jesus with a golden halo. Not so, when it comes to the Blake Prize which explores the religious and spiritual in art. One year a textured abstract took the $25,000 prize. Another year, a Buddhist entry scooped the prize.

I’ve always wanted to enter the Blake but couldn’t muster a strong entry. This year, my teddy, who I’ve owned for over 40 years came to my rescue.

Picture of a panda bear toy as a symbol of Idolatry

Idolatry, Ray Monde, 2013, Blake Prize 2013

As a child, my teddy bear, Pandy, was my conduit to God. I would pray through him. Later as the foundations of my faith shifted, I realised that Pandy had become a talisman in his own right and I would travel with him stuffed into my bags to ward off evil.

Despite his flea-bitten ragged look, I can’t part with him and those googly eyes stare at me accusingly in the dark of night.

Here’s the run-down of the making of Idolatry.

Yellow green textured canvas

First, I painted over an existing canvas with a yellow green

Creating a panda using black & white paper

I drew the key shapes of different elements of the bear’s body and then overlay these with torn magazines, gluing them in place with binder medium

Torn black & white papers used to create panda collage

To make sure I can cut out distinct shapes, on the back of each page I have traced my drawings to make shape-cutting accurate

Collages elements ready to be assembled on the canvas

All the pieces of the collage, now ready for assembly on the canvas

Yellow green textured canvas with assembled panda collage

Here’s the near final artwork with the collage elements of the panda combined. All I need to do to complete it was add the ‘light of truth’ in the top left-hand corner

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