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About Island Cow Typography

Artist Blog by Anna Kadykova

It so happened in my life that I ended up on the island of Sri Lanka and lived here for almost two years. In the Eastern province of the island I saw a lot of cows with big and sometimes huge letters and numbers on their sides. It turned out to be a way of local branding cows - it’s called hot iron branding. And it’s very big - sometimes it covers the whole body of an animal.

I started to film these cows and it became my story. For the first time in my life I started to film something, knowing from the very beginning what and how it would be as a final form. I had a definite feeling it was going to be a book with lots of photos of letters and numbers. I don’t know everything about it, but I felt the form in general.

The story is about the pain, but to be true it was not the pain itself that attracted my attention in the first place. First of all, I was struck by the letters and numbers themselves as typography. I found it mesmerizing and even beautiful. Of course I felt sorry for the cows at the same time. But I don't want to hide my fascination with these letters and numbers.

It also got me thinking about our own identity. How we feel about ourselves and how we can present and show ourselves? Do we intentionally identify ourselves through pain? We expose ourselves and others to pain. Identity and pain are so close to each other here.

I don't know where or when I'll stop yet, but I know I'm moving forward inside the book.