Blind Men and an Elephant

March 14th, 2014, 11am

On today’s walk I followed the Sculpture Trail of the Lorne Biennale, approximately 3 K along this classic foreshore, stretching from the pier to the swinging bridge. The piece under examination in this photo is called the end, the beginning. I rather imagine the title is a side-glance reference to the ancient legend of the blind monks and an elephant. As I see it, the artist has challenged the viewers: “Tell me, blind men, what sort of thing is an elephant?’ And I hear the Aussie answers: “4 stout gum trees,” says one. “A snake,” cries another. “A firies’ hose.” “A huge wombat.” “A couple of didgeridoos.”


“Blind monks examining an elephant”, an ukiyo-e print by Hanabusa Itchō (1652–1724).

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David Wade Chambers

Born in Oklahoma: 30 years in US. 6 years in Canada, 40 years in Australia. Academic field: history and philosophy of science. Currently, teach indigenous studies online at Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM) and Brandon University (Manitoba). Come visit our B&B on Australia's Great Ocean Road. Mate's Rates for Hi community! (

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