I created this drawing for a competition in response to the theme ‘Apocalypse,’ set by the arts organisation IdeasTap. With this particular piece of work I have incorporated lots of symbolism, in the hope that this will reinforce the theme, and put across a more powerful message to the viewer.
While designing the composition I knew I wanted to create a dramatic scene in a panoramic view, but I struggled to find good quality paper in the size I needed; to overcome this problem I used three separate pieces of paper and interlocked them together to form the complete drawing. Although I did not initially consider the effect of this on the final framed work it actually emphasises the impact of the drawing – if the viewer looks closely they are able to see the parts where it is pieced together, which adds to the segregation and disorder of the piece.
While creating it I was inspired by numerous things, including the poem ‘The Waste Land’ by T.S. Elliot, as well as Dungeness (an area of Kent renown for its’ bleakness); to wars and natural disasters that have taken place. I felt like ‘The Waste Land’ related to this theme, as within it Elliot has depicted some bleak scenarios and as the viewers you sense impending doom. ‘…..April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire…roots that clutch' (Elliot, T. 1922), let loose with my imagination this poem conjures up ghastly things. I also find it appropriate that Elliot speaks of the ‘Hanged Man’ in it (which I have depicted in the drawing, hanging from one of the trees on the waters’ edge).
Gotterdammerung. I have included this word instead of the normal writing seen on airships, as it relates to the Odinic apocalypse, the Twilight of the Gods and the sacrifice of Odin (‘who hung upside down in a tree for nine days to gain entry to the underworld and learn the meaning of the runes’ – Harris, M. 1996). This links with the Hanged Man I have depicted in another part of my drawing as mentioned above, and the runes on the Celtic Cross gravestone in the left hand side of the image. Incidentally, gotterdammerung is a german word that means ‘…a collapse marked by catastrophic violence and disorder’ (Baum, R. 2006), which relates well to the overall feeling of the scene.
Furthermore, Ragnarok (The doom of the Gods, from Norse Mythology) also relates to the theme of the Odinic apocalypse – it is known as a series of future events, including a great battle and the submersion of the world in water, which relates back to the idea of an apocalypse. In addition, the number 52 included on the airship is a significant as the Mayan calendar had 52 years.
On the gravestone I have written runes which spell out 'Uayeb’ (this has a personal significant for me, as I am fascinated by runes, presently learning them and using them within my art work) which are the five days in the (pre-hispanic) Mayan Calendar which were viewed upon by the Mayan people as being unlucky and they had a morbid fear of – as they thought the Gods may be unhappy and bring about the end of the world.
I have drawn decorative parts at the top of the tower inspired by the Mayan Calendar; on the two columns I have included more decorative parts influenced by ‘Hunab Ku’ the Mayan symbol for unity and balance as I wanted to bring a little hope to the dismal scene – like Picasso did in his painting ‘Guernica’ with the flower he included – indicating that there is always hope.