"The Crow" by Damien Hirst. Conceptual painting.
there are not many winged creatures of the avian type, i like; i’ve had many traumatic experiences with the little bastards and have grown to feel hate for most of them.
i don’t remember this incident but it does explain why i have always felt my body go into flight mode when they are around, sweaty palms, rapid breathing, elevated heartbeat and all. when i was 2 or 3, my mum let me have some bread to feed the swans with, at reid park zoo in tucson, az. they loved me until the moment i had no more bread and then they attacked my tiny toddler body. my mum had to pick me up and run because they kept chasing us.
when i was a little older, my mum dropped me off at a lady’s house, while she went to work. this lady happened to have two huge macaws. she let them out of their cages and those suckers would walk around and steal my lunch. considering the bites i had from the swans, these things and their atrocious behaviour only reinforced my distaste of winged creatures (it was probably around this time i began to pick off the wings of butterflies, too).
interestingly enough, the only birds i ever really awed over belong to the bird of prey group- eagles, hawks, osprey, falcons and owls and even vultures. the Corvidae family: crows, rooks and mostly, ravens are also more than tolerable.
this whole time i’ve thought i hated birds because of their crimes against me. but recently, in my research of birds, real and mythical, i’ve stumbled upon a deeper root to my hate of them: all the ones i hate are all the ones, now dependant on and willing to be caged, by men.
birds are supposed to be the freest of animals. they can sore the skies, naturally and it is something (air sign) i can only dream of to know the feeling. why, on earth, would anything with this capability allow itself to forego instinct and sit in a cage all day? fly away!! see the world and feel the wind taking you higher and further than you ever knew existed! if you sit and rot in the cage, with not attempt to break free, i feel no pity for you when you realize you are a waste of breath.
birds of prey and ravens and crows: you are sacred in my eyes, unwilling to be touched and captured. the sick need of man to cage and keep contained, that which they can only dream of having, makes me cringe and you all have failed to fall victim. you may come close to us, but you are all of an ancient magic and something in the eyes of the hawks breed in captivity still tell me their souls are free. but unlike you, macaws, swans, ducks, canaries, finches… their eyes are dead and empty, having traded their souls for that first piece of bread. i turn away in disgust.
i’m sure you’re wondering why i chose to post this exhibition piece of bleeding crows, since i just professed admiration for their kind. the answer: up until 2 days ago, i had forsaken the entire avian lot and carelessly, sacrificed those who were still innocent and free. it’s a reminder of the hate i once blindly felt and i hope now, i will embrace the portion of myself connecting me to those soaring high above: the intrinsic need to be completely free.
[this is interesting, too: i started researching birds for a tattoo idea. even through my hate, i knew i was connected to them and, more importantly, knew i needed to find it out and represent it accurately. i’ve always said hate is an emotional attachment, as is love. my hate of birds masked the underlying love i have for them; it was only by exploring, hate in tow, that i found my actual connection.
you may think you know yourself, so well, but you’d be surprised what you learn when you keep questioning and examining your actions, thoughts and feelings.]