24” x 48” acrylic on plywood, 2010, by Jenny Badger Sultan
I painted this totem for my grandson, Amos, for his first birthday. He was and is such a happy child and has brought me great happiness. Amos is in the center, seated on a lion, his birth sign, supported by an ox, his Chinese zodiac sign.
The two monkeys represent Hanuman, the monkey king from the Hindu Ramayana. There was a small mask of Hanuman hanging on the wall at Amos’ house and he liked to talk to it when he was a baby.
The ducks, hummingbirds and blue jays are some of the birds that he noticed and enjoyed.
The white and black cat crouching at the bottom is Shigadoo, the family cat.
When I gave the totem to Amos and his parents and they took it home, I realized that I wanted one to have at our house, to join the mural and the Blessing Hands that are on the fence outside our house. So I painted another one just like the first (I had saved the paper templates I’d made to do the figures on the first one) and installed it on our garden gate.
So every time I go in the gate, I greet Amos’s joyful face.
Related: A Totem for Teddy, Totem for Solly and Teddy's Rocking Chair.