Duck Series Overview
Symbolism of Birds
The birds hold symbolic meaning, such as the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit, innocence, peace and so forth. In the Native American cultures, some birds of particular importance are the hawk, raven, eagle, owl, woodpecker and duck. The reason for their importance is their ability to fly; and therefore, they are seen as carriers of prayers and deliverers of blessings and guidance. Ceramic bowls in the shape of ducks were found in Native American burial mounds. These effigy bowls were believed to aid the deceased by evoking the spirit of the duck in the journey to the spirit world.
Symbolic of the Decease
In general, waterfowl symbolizes the spirits of those who passed on, or the souls of our ancestors. One source states that the duck is the symbol of the nightly underwater movement of the sun. (1). This idea of the nightly movement of the sun correlates well with the early Egyptian burial art. In the tombs, a bird with a human head portrays the spirit flying away from the body at the time of death. The portrayal of a bird in conjunction with the spirit of the dead is similar to the use of duck bowls in the Native American cultures.
Attributes of the Wood Duck
In the Duck Series, the shape of the Wood duck was chosen, mainly because of its distinct crested head and strong beautiful markings. The Wood duck is considered to be the most beautiful duck in North America. Another attribute of the duck is its versatility. This duck is at ease on land, as well as in the sky and on the water. In addition, the Wood duck is monogamous in its breeding behavior. With these attributes and symbolic meaning as stated in the paragraphs above, the Wood duck proved the perfect choice for the series.
When Vera started this digital collage series, she was distinctly drawn to the duck shape. At the time, she didn't know about the duck's symbolic meaning. While creating the artwork called A Day and a Life of a Duck she often wondered why she added some ducks in a faintly and ghostly manner. In doing the research for the Overview, she discovered the symbolic meaning of the duck as spirits of our ancestors. Only then, did she understand the meaning of the ghostly duck heads in her artwork. Discovering that her art holds added meaning gives her delight and reconfirms a sense of deep connectedness with humanity, past and present.