Totem #2 – Stacked Harris Hawks
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This is the second in my ongoing “Totem” series. Modern reinterpretations of the Native American Totem Poles of the Pacific Northwest, these pieces offer unexpected arrangements of common animals and birds. Native Americans traditionally used animals as potent symbols for their own human talents, frailties, fears, and desires, and despite the distance we have placed between ourselves and the natural world today, animals still play just as significant a role in our daily lives, from logos to add campaigns. These pieces ask the viewer to explore what wildlife means in today’s world, to consider the fragile balance we strike in our own lives between man and beast, and to ponder the plight of a natural world teetering on collapse.
I was inspired to create this particular piece by my time in the American Southwest, especially Tucson, where the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum offers an amazing air show staring five of these stunning raptors. Interestingly, Harris Hawks actually do sometimes perch on each other’s backs in the wild in numbers up to four birds, making this the only example of my Totem series that could possibly occur in nature. A favorite of falconers, I’ve also had the opportunity to observe glove-trained Harris Hawks in the UK. I’ve spent time with several ambassador birds at local wildlife rescues and educational facilities, but I have yet to see one in the wild.
Also available in a medium sized version 16″ x 24″