Though progress and development have brought a lot of good things to society, they can also hide or draw attention away from those things that used to be important to previous generations. With his latest project, Hong Kong artist Edmond Wong has therefore sought to remind tourists in Hong Kong’s Sai Kung District about the crucial role that stray cattle played in local agriculture just a few decades ago. To do so, he has developed a gorgeous 3D printed ox statue, with the help of 3D printing experts Print-Rite, makers of the CoLiDo 3D Printer series.
If you’ve ever visited the Sai Kung District with its huge Geopark and other natural features, you might have run into small groups of stray cattle yourself. Still roaming the area, they used to be vital to the livelihoods of the farmers who populated the area. But when the economy shifted away from agriculture thirty years ago, the local cattle were abandoned. Visitors of the tourist hotspots of the district often see the cattle grazing beside roads or drinking from pools in the parks.
While some tourists might feel threatened, the animals roaming through the district are actually quite docile and rarely harm people. According to 2012 statistics, about 1200 stray animals (mostly oxen and buffalo) can be found in Hong Kong, mostly in the rural areas of Sai Kung and the Lantau Island. Though their numbers are growing at about 15% per year, they live in very unusual environments. New buildings and fences are forming barriers in their traditional environments, and the animals are increasingly forced to cross roads to reach their water and food sources.
Residents are therefore increasingly seeing the animals as a nuisance and as potential causes of traffic accidents. Since 2011, the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation department (AFCD) has tracked the animals and is gradually neutering the bulls. This is already a fast improvement on the previous policy of rounding up the cattle and sending them to slaughterhouses, made possible by the fact that cattle don’t fall within the scope of the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance. Problematically, when placed in other environments, the cattle usually fail to adapt.
Edmond Wong was determined to do something about it. To emphasize the importance cattle used to have for Hong Kong society, he began to work a remarkable ox sculpture as part of his ongoing series of cattle inspired designs called ‘Also the Indigenous Inhabitants’. But 3D printing such a sculpture on a 1:1 scale can obviously be challenging. Fortunately, 3D printing experts Print-Rite heard of Wong’s project. Using their CoLiDO Mega 3D printer, which boasts a build volume of 1 meter in diameter by 1.5 meters in height, they were more than happy to develop and 3D print a life-sized sculpture. Using the company’s 3D scanning equipment, Wong was able to scan local animals and 3D print the sculpture in multiple parts.