Flaviu Rogojan
lives and works in Cluj, Romania

Bagheera, 2021
Dye transfer and ink on cotton paper
100 cm x 70 cm & 20 cm x 30 cm
100 cm x 70 cm & 20 cm x 40 cm

Triumf Amiria - You Feel and Drift and Sing
04. 12. 2021 ‒ 19. 01. 2022
curated by: Kilobase Bucharest (Dragoș Olea & Sandra Demetrescu)
at Combinatul Fondului Plastic, Bucharest, Romania
In the 1960s and 1970s series of animated shorts titled Adventures of Mowgli, the soviet adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, the character Bagheera plays the role of the friend, protector and mentor to the “man-cub” Mowgli. The films portray Bagheera as female, changing the gender from the original story, and following the Russian translation by Nina Daruzes. This may be related to the fact that the Russian word for "panther" is a feminine noun, and a name ending with 'a' is considered to be a female name in the Russian language. While most of Disney's versions of the Jungle Book stick to a male protector figure, in the various other film and theater adaptations that followed, the panther's gender is freely explored.

In the two drawings I redraw Bagheera's fluid motion from the frames of a scene in the soviet animation as she jumps across the top of the jungle trees when chased by Mowgli. At this point in the story she is teaching Mowgli a valuable lesson: that he should not be limited by his identity as a wolf cub, acting as a wolf and running on all fours, but accept his identity as a human too. She allows him climb up the trees and frees him from a conforming and one-dimensional role in the pack.

The background is first hand drawn and then multiplied. The repeated landscape and drawn out series of panther drawings extend a short moment in time and space. The poem draws words from a scientific article the first documented black panther sighting in Kenya in 100 years, role-playing game character creation rules, metaphors from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, and a line that Bagheera says to Mowgli.