106.68cm X 152.4cm, oil on canvas, sold to a hotel
We have lots of peacocks on the farm where I live. I spent a lot of time observing them. During the monsoon I would pick up their feathers, put them in vases and generally admire them. Food was laid out every evening for them so as to be able to better observe them. I would sit and watch their beautiful dances and politics.
The peacocks on the farm have plenty of space for romance and dance. The males show off their stuff, shake and dance and shake it some more, as the unattractive females paid absolutely no attention to them. I have still not figured out how males manage to finally convince the ladies. However, the females eventually laid their eggs in the underbrush and would later strut around, babies in tow.
It was during the early 2000s that I first thought of making a painting of peacocks. I came across a depiction of peacocks fighting and my fixation on this subject took flight ! At the time I was very exposed and affected by human politics. I saw and came in contact with many politicians. They reminded me of the proud peacocks that I saw strutting around my farm. Suddenly an image arose in my mind to combine both ideas and paint half human and half peacock beings.
The golden background signifies the fighting over treasure. In this case, the treasure was winning to get power and everything that comes with it!
I was really inspired because I could combine all my favourite artistic preferences together to make one stunning painting. Peacock colours, movement, expression, and insight painted on a golden background were combined. This is also a painting about texture and shape.
I studied books about birds and selected those that suited my overall plan for the painting. I painted peacock feathers alongside the beautiful feathers of other birds. At the bottom you can see fluffy ostrich feathers painted on a thin layer of gold to emphasise the drama and versatility of this feather. As your eye rises, different bird feather layers display their natural colours.
I played very subtly with pure colour, placing strokes next to each other but not blending anything together. The method creates an effect of shading when you stand far away but your eye automatically blends the colours. The actual separation of all of the colours can only be seen when you stand very close to the painting. I got this idea from continuously looking and playing with actual peacock feathers that also have this effect on the eye.
Peacocks inspired everything that surrounded me when I painted this artwork. I wore dresses with peacock prints and matched the outfit with harmonising earrings and necklace. This fascination actually still continues till today
My mother, who is a tapestry weaver, really liked this painting. She made a beautiful tapestry based on it that is just the same size as the original. It is included here.