Wednesday, September 15, 2010

beauty is in the aye-aye of the beholder

For this week's Illustration Friday topic, "proverb", I went with a more well-known one and tweaked it some. I was searching for images of ugly animals to draw, when the Aye-aye caught my attention. I'm not sure I would call it ugly though, to be honest, compared to some of the others. One reason I keep doing these Illo Friday challenges is because they force me to research and learn things I may not have known too much about. Granted, a search on Google could never compare to a real, honest-to-goodness learning experience, and if I could fly to Madagascar right now and study the Aye-aye, you bet I would right now. What I did learn about this fascinating little lemur is that it is an endangered species. I also learned, unfortunately, that this virtually harmless critter is feared by the native peoples of Madagascar, who believe it is a demon who brings bad luck and death. For instance, some of the natives believe that it can use its elongated middle finger to drill a hole in it's human victims and kill them. The truth however, is this elongated finger is used to pierce a hole in hollowed out trees, where it actively searches for and hunts grubs, its main source of food. Sadly, the natives who believe the Aye-aye is evil, will kill it to prevent danger from coming to their villages. Hopefully, someday soon, those who believe this harmless beast (who is also facing habitat destruction) is evil, will evolve in their thinking and realize the Aye-aye isn't out to get them at all. It's not a good situation to be in, being a victim of too much, as well as too little progress. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place! If I could invent my own proverb, it would be "no superstition is a good superstition".

*mixed media in A4 watercolor Moleskine, 9/2010