The crocotta is a mythical dog-wolf of India and Ethiopia said to be ‘a deadly enemy of men and dogs’. Their folklore is linked to the hyena, an animal whose own legend includes abilities to call humans from their homes by name and strike dumb other animals who cross their shadow, as well as an inclination to dig up human corpses for food. The crocotta is able to shapeshift, change biological sex, has fluid sexuality, and those with wombs are to be able to conceive without fertilisation.
Hyenas are matriarchal, with strong family bonds, are intelligent hunters and strategic scavengers yet are often depicted as lazy, stupid and unattractive tricksters, thanks in part to The Lion King. In this self portrait transmogrifies into the crocotta, TextaQueen alludes to her own gender fluidity and racialised misrepresentation, carrying an offering of some human mens’ bones.
2013, fibre-tips, coloured pencil and synthetic polymer paint on cotton paper, 96.5 × 127 cm (38 × 50 in). Collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.