Machli – Queen of Tigers

'Machli' (Midwinter Fawn Figurine) - black Biro on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Machli’ (Midwinter Fawn Figurine) – black Biro on china by Jane Lee McCracken

New work is on its way!  Prototypes ‘Machil’,  one of seven figurines, ‘The Dreamers’, with original Biro drawings on china, forms part of a wider project about life and death in the animal world, both naturally and at the hands of man.

'Machli' black biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Machli’ black biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

A restful fawn dreams of being hunted by the great tigress Machli – black biro drawing inspired by layers of still images taken of the wildlife documentary ‘Natural World: Queen of Tigers’ BBC 2012/13, Mike Birkhead Associates with Colin Stafford-Johnson.  Machli, the most famous tiger in the world is the pride of Ranthambore National Park, India.  Her life has been documented from cub to old age in two beautiful and moving films by Mike Birkhead Associates.  This piece represents the natural cycle of life and death in the animal world.  It also represents how vital indigenous prey species are for wild tigers.  Tigers are threatened by wildlife crime but also by habitat loss.  With an estimated 3200 tigers left in the wild there are now more tigers in captivity.

'Machli' - black Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Machli’ – black Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

Inspired by Goya’s Los Caprichos, ‘The Dreamers’ represent the innocent physicality of sleep whilst the torrid kaleidoscope of dreams cascades through the brain.   ‘The Dreamers’ also represents the quiet moments of peace and daydreams before the inevitability of life’s realities steals ‘innocence’.  Dreams play out like films in our minds, abstract fragments of the brain’s data input of information and our fears and hopes.  Much of my work is based on the subject matter of loss through war and disaster or environmental destruction, represented in layered Biro drawings using stills from films often creating an abstracted phantasmagoria of images and thoughts.  Films transport and capture our minds just like dreams do; they face our fears, portray our hopes and can be therapeutic tools in our waking hours as dreams are deemed brain therapy in our sleep.

I made a random collection of figurines from local charity shops, so that my philosophy of simply using what is close at hand, such as a Biro for drawings was upheld with the choice of figurines available on each day.  Damaged and repaired figurines were still selected to retain the memory of the figurine’s previous life and owner.  Each figurine was then painted white, purifying them from the original manufacturers painted design and stripping each figurine back to the foundations of its physical representation thus creating a blank canvas.  This brings a sense of life to each figurine without the distraction of painted design before the original black Biro drawings are drawn onto the painted surface as well as white representing the purity of ‘a being’ at sleep.  An incredibly hard surface to draw on, these pieces were challenging and remain precious for the intimacy shared with each piece by holding them in my hands as I drew on them.

Further images will be released as this project continues.  

For further information about tigers, please visit the amazing Save Wild Tigers, a global initiative dedicated to saving tigers in the wild .



2 thoughts on “Machli – Queen of Tigers

  1. Wonderful work, in a difficult medium Jane. It is sobering to realise that there are more tigers in captivity, than in the wild. But at least it proves that we are doing our best to retain the species, for future generations to marvel at.
    Very best wishes from Norfolk, Pete. x

    • Many thanks as always Pete, glad you like this one. Machli is one special tiger. This was the first of the figurines and a steep learning curve dealing with the medium, as you say it’s not an easy medium. Thank you again for your kind words. Best wishes from a sunny North, Jane x

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