100 Million Hand-Painted Sunflower Seeds

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it seems artists get obsessed with their work? I mean that in the best way, obsessed in the sense that they dream to create something spectacular, and they don’t stop until the project is completed.

That kind of passion and drive is one of the most inspiring emotions to me. I know what it feels like to be in that state of creation, and it’s a drug like no other. I’m sure if I were to interview an artist that has experienced this, he or she would say that people all around them tried to convince them that what they were creating wasn’t possible. Of course, they didn’t listen; they pushed forward, like a true visionary. For example, remember James Roper who folded ten origami flowers each day for three years to complete his project? There are so many examples of this, and the sunflower seed installation below is another one.

What you are looking at here are 100 million hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds. This equates to 150 tons of sunflower seeds. Unbelievable, isn’t it? According to Telegraph, “The seeds represent what was at times the only food available to millions of Chinese people during Mao’s time in power (communist). More than 30 million people starved to death in famines during 1958-1961.

Artists working in small Chinese workshops in the city of Jingdezhen individually painted each seed. There is obviously a lot of love in this project from a lot of very talented people. When this incredible art installation by The Tate was originally set up in London, they allowed people to walk across the seeds and feel them between their toes. Since then, because of the porcelain dust that it created (which is unhealthy to breathe), they are no longer allowing people to walk across the seeds. It’s all so fascinating, isn’t it?

[via New York Times]