First Blog Post Story of my Whale

First Blog Post : Story of My Whale

Thank you for being here.

I hope these blog posts will bring some clarity and context to my work.

I’m often asked: Why did I choose to make bronze whales? What inspired you? Why whales? 

When I was in my twenties I spent some time traveling through Alaska.

On one of the last days there I remember driving along the coastal road and becoming aware of an unusual sound in the air.

This sound was so compelling that I pulled off the road just in time to witness the procession of a pod of whales, led by what looked like one white one. It felt like time stopped for those 15 – 20 minutes or so it took for them to pass though the waters alongside the road. 

It was a very special moment and the memory of that sound has always stayed with me. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated by these animals.

Years later I find myself living and creating in a coastal part of the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. Through friends from a local organization, called the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group   I once again became aware of the presence of whales in these waters.

As I was starting a new series of bronze sculptures, their whale sound kind of reemerged from my memories and became the source of inspiration for this new work.

The particular way that my sculptures are uniquely balanced represent the delicate equilibrium that exists between the oceans and land.  Over the next couple of years I made a pod of 7 small whales and one larger whale 3ft tall. Those 7 small whale sculptures have migrated and gone all over the world: USA, Canada, England and Europe.

Small Whale

To me the breaching whale represents breaking through established boundaries,  going beyond one’s comfort zone into a foreign environment, achieving the impossible. The posture of the breaching whale leaves itself vulnerable and exposed, but this I feel takes courage and strength. 

I myself was starting a new phase of my life, relocating to Ireland and felt that the symbolism of the whale aligned well with my own migratory journey. It is also relevant in today’s wider issue of ocean and climate change. 

In the mythology of coastal peoples throughout the world, the whale has always been a very important symbol. Their folklore and history has been shaped and informed from living next to these giant marine species.

Whales have always been a relevant symbol in the ancient past, industrial era and today’s modern world.  Their migratory patterns have historically been followed by early ocean navigators to help them discover new lands and spread human life all over this planet. 

In the ancient past all parts were used to sustain a community in harsh conditions; in the industrial era they were hunted to near-extinction for their whale oil; in today’s modern world their environment is being threatened by climate change and pollution so their survival is an indicator of the health of our oceans and coastal communities.

At the end of the day these creatures are awe inspiring, and I wanted to somehow capture and share that. I hope I succeeded.

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