Taiwan artist carves face of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen on rice grain

Miniature artist Chen Forng-Shean poses with his latest work, a miniature portrait of Taiwanese president-elect Tsai Ing-wen on a grain of rice, in Taipei, Taiwan on April 18, 2016.
Miniature artist Chen Forng-Shean poses with his latest work, a miniature portrait of Taiwanese president-elect Tsai Ing-wen on a grain of rice, in Taipei, Taiwan on April 18, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS
Miniature artist Chen Forng-Shean poses with his latest work, a miniature portrait of Taiwanese president-elect Tsai Ing-wen on a grain of rice, in Taipei, Taiwan on April 18, 2016.
Miniature artist Chen Forng-Shean poses with his latest work, a miniature portrait of Taiwanese president-elect Tsai Ing-wen on a grain of rice, in Taipei, Taiwan on April 18, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS
Miniature artist Chen Forng-Shean poses with his latest work, a miniature portrait of Taiwanese president-elect Tsai Ing-wen on a grain of rice, in Taipei, Taiwan on April 18, 2016.
Miniature artist Chen Forng-Shean poses with his latest work, a miniature portrait of Taiwanese president-elect Tsai Ing-wen on a grain of rice, in Taipei, Taiwan on April 18, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS
 A miniature portrait of Taiwanese president-elect Tsai Ing-wen on a grain of rice, created by miniature artist Chen Forng-Shean, is displayed in Taipei, Taiwan on April 18, 2016.
A miniature portrait of Taiwanese president-elect Tsai Ing-wen on a grain of rice, created by miniature artist Chen Forng-Shean, is displayed in Taipei, Taiwan on April 18, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - A Taiwan artist has refused to see the big picture and instead captured the likeness of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen, on a grain of rice to celebrate her inauguration next month.

Mr Chen Forng-shean, who has also sculpted the face of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong on rice, said the staple was a fitting medium for his work because it met the basic needs of ethnic Chinese.

"Rice gives nourishment to the proverbial belly of the ethnic Chinese people. I used rice (as a medium) to encourage Taiwan's leader Tsai Ing-wen, hoping that she can take care of the common people, so they don't need to endure hunger, and improve their financial situation," he said.

He outlined the facial features and accompanying Chinese characters with a needle-point pen on to the surface of the rice grain, before carving and then dabbing black paint into the grooves.

It took three months and more than 10 attempts to get the sculpture to Mr Chen's satisfaction. Visitors to his cluttered workshop near the capital Taipei can view more than 150 of his works using a magnifying glass.

The artist reminded Ms Tsai, who takes office on May 20, that she pledged in her acceptance speech in January to work for the people of Taiwan.

" '(Be) modest, modest and even more modest.' I wrote this sentence of hers on to this grain of rice."