The crocotta is a mythical beast of India whose legend is based on the hyena. They are rumoured to be able to call humans from their homes by name, strike dumb other animals who cross their shadow, and to dig up human corpses for food. They are said to shapeshift, to change genders, have fluid sexuality and their females are able to conceive without a male. They are thought to possess gemstone eyes with powers of an oracle. Hyenas are matriarchal, with strong family bonds, are intelligent hunters and strategic scavengers yet are often depicted as lazy, stupid and unattractive tricksters (Thanks perhaps to the Lion King). I identify with the hyena and the mythical crocotta; not just for my laugh, but especially in gender fluidity and as a person of colour also subject to fear and mis-representation. Here I’m a crocotta humanoid bringing you some men’s bones.
2013, felt-tip marker, coloured pencil and acrylic paint pen on Stonehenge cotton paper, 96.5 × 127 cm (38 × 50 in). Collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.