Manure over, China’s large rooster sculpture that looks like Donald Trump. There’s a new contender for strangest way of celebrating the Chinese zodiac’s Year of the Rooster. A Russian farmer overcame great odds to keep alive his tradition of creating large symbols from the Chinese calendar out of cow poop.
Mikhail Bopposov, the artist, is a retired government farmer. Since retiring, he has served as the caretaker for a school in the village of Uolba. The Siberian community, in the Sakha Republic, is part of Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District. The location is an important consideration, since Mikhail’s preferred medium is manure. Yakutia, an alternate name for the region, has the coldest winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere. Averaging around -31F/-35C, this ensures the poop sculptures last throughout the winter. In fact, the ease of using manure in the frigid temperatures is what attracted Bopposov to the idea. As a result of other sculpting materials failing to bond in the cold, the creative artist turned to his cows.
He began creating his large sculptures in 2008. His first project was a strong tank. However, his attention quickly shifted to the Chinese zodiac. In subsequent years, he carved dragons, monkeys, and snakes. Last year, however, he created a monkey sculpture that he said represented evolution. With each passing year, Mikhail’s fame grew and Uolba soon became a popular tourist destination.
However, the streak of sculptures almost ended this year. As 2017 neared, Bopposov remained in bed. He recently underwent leg surgery and needed to recuperate. Only after the pleading of family and friends did he agree to create the zodiac sign for the Year of the Rooster. With the help of his 17 cows and two younger brothers, the 56-year-old Mikhail completed the 11-foot tall, 15-foot wide farm animal. The rooster is solidly frozen and capable of supporting people standing on it. Come the early days of spring, however, the rooster will thaw quickly.