Turning the Continents of the World into Animals

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Over time, the landmasses of the world have separated and shifted to the current configuration.  Japanese graphic designer, Kentaro Nagai, continues the tradition of envisioning”maps as animals” and reworks the continents as part of his artistic piece from 2007 entitled, “The Twelve Animals.”

Nagai reorganizes continents and islands into one of the twelve animals (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.) that represent the Japanese Zodiac.  He named his project “Piece Together For One Peace” as a nod to a peaceful future.  In an interview with the design site, Yazter, the grapher designer explained his intention, “All the countries in the world should help and cooperate with each other.  This project was generated by an idea that the image of humanity united as one could be built by creating a figure combining “Nation” “Cooperation” and “Peace” with all continents and islands of the world. Our theme, “Piece Together for Peace” means that “peace” can be created by putting together “pieces” like a puzzle.” Nagai further explained that greeting cards at the New Year with that year’s Zodiac animals signal are exchanged in order for the sender to express his or her “gratitude for things they’ve done for you through the previous year and to wish for their happiness, safety, and health for the upcoming year.”

Two examples of Nagai’s map animals:

Rat from Twelve Animals by Kentaro Nagai
Rat from Twelve Animals by Kentaro Nagai
Rooster from Twelve Animals by Kentaro Nagai
Rooster from Twelve Animals by Kentaro Nagai

Nagai offers a view of how the continents and islands are reassembled for each of the twelve animals on his Graflex Directions site.  Here is a small sample showing the rooster and the dog:


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