Sunday, November 13, 2011

Totems

Through time animals have been the source of many of human kinds most powerful symbols. My Monotypes Totems and Animalia are two from a series that explores symbols or totems as subject.

A totem is something that serves as a symbol for or emblem of an individual or group. Frequently the totem is of the natural world and there are many examples of plants and animals as totems. Finally, the totem has mythic association with the individual, family or group.

Though the word totem is Ojibwe in origin and Native American animal totems immediately come to mind, totem like beliefs and totems as symbols are culturally prevalent throughout the world.
 
My previous blog about Io and Argus referenced Hera’s symbol or totem, the Peacock and how he got his tail.  Here are a few more examples of symbolic animal association in Greek myth and contemporary belief.

Posidon’s totem would be the Horse, Athena’s the Owl, and moving across cultures Hindu Goddess Saraswati's animal symbol was also the Peacock.  Vishnu has many totems but the Conch and the Lotus come to mind.  In Christian teaching  St. Luke’s totem would be the Ox and St. Mark’s the Lion.

Totems, at left, is a Monotype (17 3/4 x 7 1/2 in) and will be exhibited in my studio during the the Vashon Island Holiday Studio Tour 

Animalia, below, is a Monotype (10 x 22 in.) and will be exhibited at the Heron’s Nest Gallery on Vashon Island during the tour and throughout the month of December 2011. 


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