The Anima Tapestries are a suite of two-metre-wide wall hangings, and are the result of a 2016 Asia New Zealand Art Foundation residency in Bangkok.
The tapestries are a collection of portraits and scenes, motivated by a Jungian approach to the Ramakein, an epic from Theravada Buddhism. The imagery is rooted within the realms of story-telling, uniting animal and human worlds, and are woven from varying materials: rubber, viscose, merino, mohair, linen, acrylic, and cotton yarns.
The images were drawn digitally and evolved as I travelled around South East Asia and, later, lived in Italy. The transformation, undertaken in a textile laboratory, bestowed each image the physical weight and gravitas of woven textural materiality, as well as the historical weight of European tapestry tradition: Biblical, allegorical, mythical, and triumphant in human feats.
This tapestry, Blue Lion, is a symbol of the tension between virtue, or sila-dhamma, and the primitive consciousness of our animal impulses and instincts. The use of tactile, jarring, and glittery materials and colours causes the unfolding, tragic conflict to be somewhat playful and dreamlike. In this dream, Hercules is defeated by the Nemean lion, and Henri Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy is mauled in her sleep.