Totemic Animal

Ina Mar

Munich, Germany

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Artist's Description

Original photo by Anthea Slade:

Translation of Anthea Slade ’s photo Beautiful Woman Beautiful Bird for the purpose of SoJie 12 (Solo’s 12th Juried Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts)


August 2011 Juried Invitational Exhibition

Dimensions: 31×41cm (12 1/8″ × 16 1/8")
Technique: ink, water, acrylic and some eagle feathers on cold-pressed paper, applied with nibs, brushes and fingers

In Native North American tribal religions, it is believed that an animal’s spirit can be trapped inside a person’s soul and that the person possesses some of the abilities or characteristics of this animal – that is the totemic animal or animal spirit guide, that will accompany the person throughout life, acting as their guide through life, both in the physical and spiritual world.

The interpretation of this photo is influenced by a book by Isabel Allende. The girl is a depiction of Nadia-Águila, a character of “Kingdom of the Golden Dragon” (El Reino del Dragón de Oro), part two of Allende’s trilogy. I will not recite the whole summary of the book, just what concerns this picture. Nadia is a young girl living in Brasil, having special abilities. She can make herself invisible and communicate with animals. She also has the ability to physically become her Totemic animal, the Eagle. Nadia (Águila) is kidnapped. While fleeing from captivity, she gets badly hurt and finds herself surrendered to death, trapped inside a canyon. In her effort to stay alive, she summons her totemic animal, the eagle, to her aid. Using her mental strength, she transforms herself into an eagle and flies out of the canyon.

I painted the moment of the transformation. The totemic animal comes to Nadia’s help and Nadia starts transforming into an eagle using her mental strength, in order to overcome the difficulties as well as her own despair.

En los primeros minutos no sintió nada, su cuerpo estaba insensible, pero pronto el dolor fue
tan intenso, que creyó que iba a desmayarse. Al moverse el dolor era mucho peor. Hizo un esfuerzo mental por permanecer alerta y evaluar su situación: no podía permitirse el lujo de perder la cabeza, decidió. En cuanto pudo calmarse un poco, elevó los ojos y se vio rodeada de rocas cortadas a pique, pero arriba estaba la paz infinita de un cielo azul tan límpido, que parecía pintado. Llamó en su ayuda a su animal totémico, y mediante un gran esfuerzo psíquico logró transformarse en la poderosa águila y volar fuera del cañón donde estaba atrapada y por encima de las montañas. El aire sostenía sus grandes alas y ella se desplazaba en silencio por las alturas, observando desde arriba el paisaje de
cumbres nevadas y, mucho más abajo, el verde intenso de aquel hermoso país.En las horas siguientes Nadia evocó al águila cuando se sentía vencida por la desesperación. Y cada vez el gran pájaro trajo alivio a su espíritu.

Many thanks to Anthea Slade for permitting me to “translate” her photo into a drawing, and to F.A. Moore for curating the workshop and exhibition SoJie 12.

Artwork Comments

  • Cindy Schnackel
  • Ina Mar
  • Anthea  Slade
  • Ina Mar
  • Marianna Tankelevich
  • Dianne  Ilka
  • Ina Mar
  • mariart
  • Ina Mar
  • donna malone
  • vampvamp
  • Michele Meister
  • Ina Mar
  • Ina Mar
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Ina Mar
  • annamora
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