Be your own knight in shining armour

4 Mar 2024 | Works

The strength theory

The Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle (or kabutomushi, in Japanese) has fascinated me for a long time. A painting from a fellow artist, 小池ふみ (Fumi Koike), reminded me how much I adore this magical creature.

In 2017, I created a small, postcard-sized painting, imagining that the beetle of Kafka’s Metamorphosis might look like the Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle. I usually don’t go back to something I’ve painted before, but it seems I still wasn’t done with this one.

I learned that these beetles are mostly found in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and eastern China, and it takes 12 months for them to mature into a beetle - and once mature, they only have 4 months to live, during which they must find a partner and breed the next generation. They are the strongest insect in the world, using the horn to lift or flip their opponents, and can lift 850 times (!) their own weight.

No surprise that they symbolise strength.

It looks fierce, and it seems like the perfect animal to serve a knight or a warrior. This led me to the samurai. What strikes me about the samurai spirit is the fierce belief in serving something bigger than yourself, bigger than life or death, even. If you’re not scared of being ill or dying anymore, you’re brave enough to overcome pretty much anything. It’s about choosing your own destiny, becoming the person that you want to become.

It caught me in a moment when I felt weak, I couldn’t persist in anything and wasn’t brave enough to start something new.

I created this painting to bring me the strength that I needed:

Be your own knight in shining armour.



Something a bit old, but the ideas are still new