Ben Crappsley – Soul Carrier


Soul Carrier is inspired by my discovery of a dead pied cormorant at Leighton Beach, Perth, Western Australia. The decaying bird was used as an aerosol paint stencil and source of photographic reference for the final artwork completed using mixed media techniques on plywood.

In many cultures diving birds are thought to ferry spirits of the dead to the next world, situated underwater rather than in the heavens. Western Australian Noongar culture considers the cormorant as the ‘conveyor of souls’.

My trips to Leighton Beach, are in part, a ritual of swimming in the ocean and letting go of the day. Discovering the dead cormorant, and its symbolic history as a species, resonated on a personal level with themes of life, death, and transformation.

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