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Here's your sneak peek into Rhinotopia Beginnings, my new art book that ties the rhinoceros to the sacred and provides art analysis on the way.

Revolve, copyright Sarah Soward 2021. Painting of a rainbow made of rhinos arcing into the shallow waves of a black sand beach. A tree stands on its roots in the black sand on the right side of the canvas.

Oil on canvas.
30 x 24 inches. 2012.
Inspiration: Oxumare
Landscape: Kehena Beach, Hawaii, United States

Soft and gentle waves lick their way up to the toes of an impossible tree on a black sand beach. Where the water is nothing more than a thin veil of liquid, a whorl of rainbow hues are revealed. A chaotic but orderly rainbow of rhinos rises up from the sea in the distance and arcs back down into the low waves just off shore. The landing is only as graceful as the rhinos will it to be.

What we can’t see is that the rainbow continues in one form or another under the ocean’s surface. It revolves to emerge continuously on the horizon.

In its revolutions are growth, rebirth, and change.

These concepts are represented through the imagery and associations of the rainbow and the tree. They are in conversation with each other as the rhinos’ landing is directed toward the tree specifically, and the tree seems to be reaching its roots back toward the rainbow.

Both the rainbow and tree are something special, and in that specialness we find Oxumare.

The rainbow is not red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple-indigo. It’s something else right now, and it may be something different again the next time we see it.

This tree species that would usually have its roots buried and planted firmly underground is standing on them instead.

Both this helter-skelter rainbow and this unconventional tree are still understood to be a rainbow and a tree. They don’t have to be exactly one way. They don’t have to fit into a standard. They are there and they are just as they should be, thanks to the rainbow serpent of non-binary gender who represents the power of transformation, Oxumare.

Rhinotopia Beginnings will be published November 22, 2021, in both hardcover and ePub editions. The hardcover edition will have high resolution images of each of the 38 paintings that make up the beginning of my Rhinotopia series.

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You can also pre-order the hardcover.


Front and back cover of Rhinotopia Beginnings