The Killer Orca

June 21, 2016

 

 

I remember  catching the ferry between Vancouver and Vancouver Island and once out into the islands everyone was transfixed looking out over the sea to spot the Orca. We did see what we were told was a pod off in the distance but not close enough to really see them. When we flew back in the Sea Plane from Victoria to Vancouver the weather was poor and although we looked none were to be seen.

 

The Orca is a beautiful animal with distinct markings and amazing leaping capabilities. It has a diverse diet with some feeding exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as seals and dolphins and have been knew to even attack baleen whale calves, and even whales. The Orca has no predators.

 

In contrast to their 'killer' qualities which have been filmed many times, they are highly social with some pods being regarded as the most stable of any animal species. However, its is their sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviours, which attract our attention. 

 

The First Nation people of the Pacific Northwest Coast feature Orca whales throughout their art, history, spirituality and religion. The Haidaregarded people the Orca the most powerful animal in the ocean, and their mythology tells of killer whales living in houses and towns under the sea. Myth says, they took on human form when submerged, and humans who drowned went to live with them. The Kwakwaka'wakw people regarded them as the ruler of the undersea world, with sea lions for slaves and dolphins for warriors. In Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka'wakw mythology, the Orca may embody the souls of deceased chiefs. The Tlingit of southeastern Alaska regarded the Orca whale as custodian of the sea and a benefactor of humans. The Maritime Archaic people of Newfoundland also had great respect for the Orca.

 

In painting this diptych i wanted to capture the animal of the deep together with the leap out of the ocean to literally belly flop onto the water and announce his presence.

 

two canvases 51cm x 40cm acrykic on canvas

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© 2016 by Martyn Daniels  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED