With the three words “unleash the dragon,” Sisqo became an overnight sensation. It appears Andrew Hamilton ’05 — who designed and organized his own fashion show last year and plans to write an illustrated novel in the future — has now done just the same.
Bottom line: dragons are in, and the Berkeley dining hall is the new hot spot; what we’ve got here is way cooler than organic cuisine.
Hamilton, an Art History major, spent his spring break at home — Kansas, USA. Jealous? Well, you should be. While you were roasting and toasting in the sun, Hamilton got busy. Very busy. And, with the help of his Sudler Fund, Hamilton has unleashed a dragon of his own. A hip, hip Yale dragon.
Picture this: a larger-than-life (we like to think dragons are real) array of silk panels, sewn together and looming above the rafters. Spanning the entire length of the dining hall, the dragon acts as an artistic timeline, dyed with over 100 images from the canon of art. From Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” (1490) to Jackson Pollack’s “Number 1” to the “Akkadian Head” (2300-2200 B.C.E.), Hamilton demonstrates the depth and breadth of his artistic knowledge.
The dining hall entrance (where the tail is) acts as the beginning of time, and the images twist and turn down the belly of the beast into modernity at the back of the dining hall (where the head is). The wings depict Renaissance works; as Hamilton said, the wings symbolize “the blossoming of art in the Renaissance.” But there’s more.
Hamilton’s artistic know-how is matched by his intellectual creativity. The dragon, my friends, is far more than just a dragon — the age-old conflict of David v. Goliath is at work here too. That’s right — we’re talking metaphors. For those of you who aren’t up on the Good Book, it’s simple: little guy fights big guy, and lo-and-behold small-fries wins. But Hamilton offers his own unique interpretation.
“Everyone always does David,” he said (think Michelangelo). “I thought it would be interesting to look into Goliath. Big and daunting isn’t always bad.”
Certainly not for Hamilton.
Here’s the deal:
The head of the dragon (remember, back of dining hall) faces a small white hawk nailed to the wall, representative of David. The focus, however, is on the Big Guy. And Hamilton makes a powerful point.
“You need to be where the hawk is to see that it [the panels] is a dragon,” he said.
Moving from front to back, then, the viewer appreciates the art before realizing the true nature of the structure.
“If you change your perspective, Goliath might not be as horrible or ferocious,” he said.
What’s more, Hamilton hopes that his Goliath can serve yet another purpose, this one a little closer to home. With finals rapidly approaching, Hamilton realizes that students can be (let’s be honest, often are) overwhelmed by their demanding course loads.
“Dining halls are open twenty-four hours during reading week,” Hamilton said. “David, the hawk, is like the students. And Goliath, the dragon, is like the work.”
He said hopes his creation will encourage his fellow students and remind them that success is possible.
“Take a step back, come at it from a different angle,” he said.
It worked for Hamilton; his “David and the Canon” is impressive, inspiring, thought-provoking and beautiful.
It just might work for you too. If not, go buy yourself a thong. And wear it to your finals. If you fail, at least you’ll have unleashed the dragon.
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