Plate 81

(41) Leah Mariani – Wise Old Bird

About this Artwork
Price: $90 AUD

The Wise Old Bird considers two nursery rhymes; The Wise Old Owl and the Owl and the Pussy Cat. In both these rhymes the language tells us that the Owl is male and certain characteristics are attributed to him. In A Wise Old Owl, the owl is observant and wise. In the Owl and the Pussy Cat, the owl is charming and elegant, while the cat is beautiful and wants to get married.
While these old fashioned rhymes have gone out of favour, these sexist stereotypes persist. I’m my digital illustration I have sought to make the Owl a wise woman, while the cat is less significant. In this way I attempt to examine these stereotypes and change our view of them.
The text from the Owl and the Pussy Cat and the background imagery was taken from Newnes’ Pictorial Knowledge 1950’s Encyclopedia and was the inspiration for the Wise Old Bird.

About Leah:
I’m a Melbourne based artist making art about identity and relationships. I am deeply interested in people and what makes them behave the way they do. I draw on my experience as a woman and a mother, and resultantly most of my work is about childhood and womanhood. I am a passionate advocate of women’s issues and gender equality, which is a constant theme in my work.
My work is figurative in nature and I am not loyal to any particular medium and work with oil painting, acrylics paint, printmaking, pencil and paper collage.
My recent works looks at nursery rhymes and fairy tales and what they tell us about gender roles. Historically, the female protagonist was shown as a passive participant in her own story, yet these traditional fairy tales remain popular amongst young girls growing up against a backdrop of feminist movements. In my work I aim to overlay these feminist messages against old fashioned rhymes and story-telling, using both text and imagery to highlight the often complex and contradictory lessons we teach our children.

View Leah’s Art Aviso Profile HERE 

Leah was provided with the following page from Newnes’ Pictorial Knowledge Encyclopedia:

Newnes’ Pictorial Knowledge Encyclopedia.
Volume 9
A Childrens Treasury of Verse-Little Masterpieces.
‘The Owl and the Pussycat’