The Oryx, or as South Africans call it, Gemsbok, is a majestic, large antelope with distinct black markings that sort of look like its wearing corpse makeup and might start head-banging spontaneously. Although it looks heavy metal, it behaves more like a soft Chopin composition. It’s a creature that doesn’t like violence but will defend its herd fiercely. (Judging by those long horns)
For me, an Oryx is a reminder that I have many arduous obstacles to overcome that might be doable if I shake myself out of complacency. It is the silent strength of dragging myself out of bed each day and creating something, either digitally or with pencil on paper. It is the strength to hold the pieces together gracefully.
In my illustration, the creature exists peacefully, looking off into the distance, lost in its thoughts. It seems unperturbed by the violent disintegration of its face. It just accepts it as usual. So it is in my life as well. I only exist, staring off into the distance, while it feels like I’m violently disintegrating.
The multitude of glazed-over eyes has the same calm demeanour of the Oryx, except for one slightly alarmed eye. It evokes a feeling of calmness on the surface, with underlying chaos and turmoil: All is not what it’s supposed to be. It is like knowing you’ve been exposed to lethal amounts of radiation and can do nothing but wait as the effects take hold of you—an inevitability, and therefore an acceptance of your fate.
The eyes go up in smoke, leaving the fumes to envelop the creature, while its black markings are falling off the neck, creating an unwinding effect. The colour is draining from it. The grooves in the horns are slightly deformed to stand in contrast with the realism in the creature’s face.
Eighteen metallic studs float on the folds of the flapping skin. The 18th card in the Major Arcana of the tarot is the Moon. Which is a card of mystery, the unknown and deception? The Moon warns us to look closer because things are very often not what they seem. It shows us that we’re face-to-face with our inner shadows and anxieties.
In the Elder Futhark, combining the numbers gives you the number 9, which represents the rune Hagalaz. It governs the inevitably of fate and transformation. It warns us against disasters in our lives that are of control, which could be mentally or physically. So how does one overcome calamity? By shaking oneself out of complacency, and moving one foot forward at a time.
9 represents the days Odin hung on the great tree of life: Yggdrasil. The way we hang ourselves spiritually and beat ourselves up for every mistake we’ve made, or every loss we suffered.
From rock-bottom the only way is up, it cannot get worse.
“I wish I could throw off the thoughts which poison my happiness,
but I take a kind of pleasure in indulging them”
– Frederic Chopin