Photograph by Ellen Jong

Photograph by Ellen Jong

A Chinese proverb says that there is an invisible red thread that connects those destined to meet; things can get tightened or tangled but never broken. The ties that bind us to one another are also the bonds that exist deeper, within ourselves. They are, in many ways, like the path of life that we must walk, as we go along the way. That path, though linear, is almost never straight. But we hold to it firmly, even when we go astray, even when we are tied up in knots, and have lost the way. For it is in the resolution of conflict that we discover our truest selves.

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Serpent on the Mount is the latest work by conceptual artist Ellen Jong. As Jong explains, “I have yet to meet the God that moves me. Until then, am I just a vessel –a sculpture, the creator being life? Composed by family, history, class and technology, my build, status and imprint are defined. My breath and flesh are a mold resisting and swaying to the elements. But I am not just a vessel. I am not just a mold. There is a trench where my silhouette sails. It whispers and echoes me awake, from what feels like a deep and roaring desolate sea. And, I am moved.

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Serpent on the Mount is a play on Sermon on the Mount, the longest piece of moral teaching from Jesus in the New Testament. Both are drawn by love, spirituality and compassion, yet my urges are not displayed from conforming to the words of Jesus.

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“The serpent, one of the oldest mythological symbols with dual expressions of good and evil, is used here to challenge the codes of ethics delivered to provide guidance, answers and commandments for what Jesus enlightened as ‘a good life.’ There is life, and all the complicated and mysterious shit that comes with it. Conflict is inevitable, the most valuable conflicts perhaps being the ones that exist within your self. Conflict moves me.”

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