I have the pleasure of being included in the Sweet Streets Exhibition in September this year, and currently I am working on a few pieces for the show. Caro who is curating the show has featured some of my process in her blog documenting the exhibition.
I have entitled my work Fukurou Fright. The owl or fukurou is a mysterious creature in Japan, either bringing good or bad luck, depending on the kind of owl. Usually owls that made scary screeches were deemed evil while others were seen to be the messengers of the gods. With this illustration, I wanted to combine my experiences when I lived in Japan along with my African heritage. The owl is distributed through both countries and I felt this was a good link. The witch doctors take owls and use their talons and beaks for very powerful medicine in Southern Africa and owls are also seen as either negative or positive symbols depending on species…In general, owls are viewed as harbingers of bad luck, ill news, or death, and being creatures of the dark, are feared, as they bring prophecy. In Greek mythology, the owl was often associated with the Greek goddess Athena who often assumed the form of an owl. Athena was also the goddess of wisdom, and the Arts, and as a result, owls also became symbols of teaching. In the Western world, owls continue to be traditionally associated with wisdom. I read somewhere that owls were usually illustrated in Japanese Art with their eyes closed, so that you were protected from their “evil eyes”, in my piece the owls are bright eyed and I hope that they are bringing prophecies of future fashion traits to my Tokyo Night Owl girl.
Here is a fun video showing different species of African owls and how they react to one another. How Kawaii is the tiny White Faced Owl??
I have also included the video from the previous Sweet Streets Show at gallery nucleus… I’m excited to take part!