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A Six-eyed, spotted thwark and commensal Thwark-snake (Thwarkus stiktika, and Thwarkopthidis filomenos), being attacked by a Beaked crabulus (Kavulas ramphostis).

Turner Contemporary Open Exhibition, Margate

22nd Oct. 2021 - 20th Feb. 2022

(Driftwood, acrylic paint, tiger-eye beads)

A Six-eyed, spotted thwark and commensal Thwark-snake (Thwarkus stiktika, and Thwarkopthidis filomenos), being attacked by a Beaked crabulus (Kavulas ramphostis). All three species were sympatric with the Jabberwock, Jubjub bird, and the Bandersnatch, described by Lewis Carol in 1871. Sadly, no further records of any of these species or their original distributions have ever been found. 

'Alebrijes' were originated by Pedro Linare in 1930s Oaxaca, who, falling very ill, dreamt of incredible creatures, and upon recovering began to materialize his visions. The value of his 'Alebrijes' was soon recognised, others began to make them, and they are now extremely popular with the Mexican public and international tourists, with the best exponents exhibiting in galleries. 

I used alebrije-making as an exercise with science students to explore their understandings of biology, their imaginations, and their creative practice alongside the role of different forms of text in authorising knowledge. My own efforts began with imagining then making, but now I allow the 'beast' to emerge from the materials, notably driftwood.