Queen of the Wasteland (Feathers of Tales IX)2020
Ink and watercolour on watercolour paper. 508 x 405 mm (20 x 16 in), 2020.
“Wherever there was war, either among gods or men, she, the great queen, was present, either in her own shape or on her favorite disguise, that of a hoodie or carrion crow. An old poem shows her inciting a warrior: Over his head is shrieking, A lean hag, quickly hopping, Over the points of the weapons and shields, She is the grey-haired Morrigii!” (from Celtic Myth and Legend by Charles Squires)
The Morrigan is maybe the most well-known character of Irish myths. She sometimes appears as a goddess, but sometimes as a trio of goddesses named Macha, Babd and Namain. These badass women took the form a crow or raven and went to battle, leaving a wasteland behind.
I'm not a seaside kid, the largest body of water I was accustomed to as a child was a big lake. Sweet water has a very different environment than the sea, the smells, animals, and the routine is different (lack of tides!). So to me that vast empty flat field left behind after the tide with the smell of fish and seaweed looks like a wasteland: treasure hunter birds are foraging upon it, and there's the smell of rot and salt, but it's still full of life, shells and driftwood.
That's where I've seen this hooded crow digging the weeds in search of something to eat, at low tide near Bull Island. That wasteland is like a battlefield after the battle, you don't know what treasures you might find among the waste! And this is how this bird became the muse for part 9 of Feathers of Tales, my art series about birds in Irish myth and folklore.
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