Rice sculpture - Taiwan artist gets granular with president elect

TAIPEI (Reuters) - A Taiwan artist has refused to see the big picture and instead captured the likeness of president-elect Tsai Ing-wen, to celebrate her inauguration next month, on a single grain of rice. 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 before carving and then dabbing black paint into the grooves. It took three months and more than 10 tries to get the sculpture to Chen's satisfaction. Visitors to his cluttered workshop near the capital Taipei can view more than 150 of his works using a magnifying glass. Chen reminded 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." (Reporting by Fabian Hamacher; Editing by J.R. Wu and Nick Macfie)