Vaulting Ambition

They talked from one end of the day to another, the mouse chattering incessantly about potential gains, of bounties and the adulation of others.

“Have you considered that we have grown up together – shared this life? I am part of you!” squealed the mouse.

“That’s how we should be.”

He grinned.



#31 of 52: Peter Brawn

Object: An Elephant, Made From Astroturf


Themes explored in this work included;

  • Symbolism associated with elephants; power, wisdom, inner strength. Ganesha, the Hindu deity with the head of an elephant is worshipped as a remover of obstacles, though he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. Many stories stress his cleverness and love of intelligence. He is associated with the mouse and interpretations of this symbol vary. It can represent his ability to access spaces that only the burrowing creature can enter. The mouse is also symbolic of desire. Ganesha has a choice of weapons to keep the mouse in check: a fierce weapon – the goad, or a gentle weapon in the form of a rope.
  • Ambition; Hannibal’s legendary attempt to bring elephants across the alps, with the aim of conquering Rome was an audacious and lengthy campaign (albeit unsuccessful – he was defeated by Roman scorched earth and guerrilla tactics)
  • Myths surrounding elephants; I grew up believing that they were possessed of incredible memory and were terrified of mice.
  • Dream associations related to elephants; holding on ad letting go, riding the elephant can mean someone is in control. Being an elephant suggests a need to let go or express oneself.
  • Fun and playfulness; Pete’s object is a toy, a source of amusement, a plaything.
  • Perspective and inversion; turning things upside down and reversing the order of things to change their meaning. A giant, powerful creature like an elephant is turned into a toy a child could pick up and throw across a room.

The Project52 tribe also influenced the work, with these associations;

  • Eating the elephant, one bite at a time. Achieving success with patience, perseverance and consideration.

In the final work, a mouse and a man are in constant dialogue. The mouse attempts to push the man to higher gains but the latter is comfortable in his current situation. The two characters are inseperable. This is a source of frustration for the upwardly-mobile mouse whose impatience blinds him to the meal at his feet. The man teases and chides the mouse into submission, amusing himself with word-play along the way.


Project 52

Project52 is a participatory art project that explores intrigue and our relationships with objects and people. Provide a photo of an object. Receive an artwork and 52-word story. Reflect. Playback and share.

The project will culminate in an exhibition, when 52 works are completed.



To participate or if you want to know more, drop a line or contact me via Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.



Check out some of the works.

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