Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cats A-Z: Z (Zombi)

6" x 6.5" (paper) 3.5" x 4" (image) 
Oil-based inks on white Subi paper 
Artist's Proof 
Available for purchase here. 


The Zombi's wide eyes glisten and look past the inanimate occupants of the cellar. His gaze is fixed on some horrible memory. The agonized scream he let out in the still dark hours of that fateful morning has long faded to silence. And yet, that scream was like a drop that plunged into the pool of his mind, making ripples that now encircle his entire sense of being. Before the incident, he enjoyed being a black cat, slinking from one shadow to the next as he stalked pigeons and rats. Now he cowers in the dark of his underground lair, afraid of the Beast. His form has lost substance. His black cloak is a bottle of ink being poured into the sea. 

The Zombi was the name of a cat owned by the English poet Richard Southey. He named the cat after the Chief of the Palmares. Southey wrote an elaborate letter about the Zombi to Grosvenor Bedford. In that letter he describes how he took in an all-black tom cat because it had become a nuisance to its previous owner (it killed birds in the pigeon house.) Southey hoped it would solve his rat problem. One night the Zombi let out a anguished scream, but was discovered alone and unharmed. Southey wrote to Bedford asking what he thought caused the scream, and suggests the cat saw and/or had been tormented by the devil. 

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