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Are They Waiting?

Handcoloured Linoprint, 56 x 82 cm

This artwork is part of my series “Communing with Creatures”. This series is significant and ongoing in my arts practice and based on important areas of my life—my conservation work with endangered species and my interest in the mythic bond between humans, animals and the natural world.

I record my dreams in a journal and decode each of them following the instructions of Robert Johnson in his book “Inner Work”. This dream work leads to my dream art. “Are They Waiting?” is part of it, featuring crocodiles. These animals are an important part of my ‘dream art’. Please see also my linoprint “Joyriding” in the print section and my oil painting “Crossing Over” in the painting section.

The woman in this linoprint represents myself and is naked (as all women in my artworks, not only my ‘dream art’)—a visual metaphor with several aspects but in this instant,mainly symbolising her vulnerability, her exposure to nature and the animals in front of her. She is standing at a riverbed, bent forward, head between the outstretched arms.

My task as the dreamer is to draw analogies between my waking and my dreaming life and to figure out whom the elements and characters in my dream are representing. I can also consider the mythology of animals and their symbolism in different cultures, religions and art. I also have to ask myself if the woman (I) is uncertain or afraid. Or if is her posture is expressing frivolity? She is looking across to the slope opposite, to three crocodiles facing her. Are they benevolent? Or ready to attack?

Crocodiles are attributed with different qualities in different cultures: the spirits of important people in Aboriginal Dreaming; evil in Christianity; strength for native Americans; knowledge in ancient Egypt. In the practice of divination: creativity on one side, excess on the other.

I am confronted with more questions: is the content of my dream a female/male issue, generated by my idiosyncratic interpretation of the Jungian anima and animus? Should I listen to the divinatory meaning of this dream and watch out for danger? Or a new phase in my life? Is my dream just a story about a playful encounter, created by my subconscious mind for fun and entertainment?

Please find the full artist statement for the series “Communing with Creatures” in the “painting” section, under “The Rescue”.