Badb Catha (2)

Badb Catha (2)

Limited Edition prints available to order online here.

A high-resolution reproduction of this print is also included in Paul Watson’s 2016 book of artwork Myth and Masks, available exclusively from our online shop.

This lino print builds on a photograph from a series that I took in February 2013.

The subject is based on Badb Catha, a Celtic goddess who is part of a trio of goddesses (or one goddess with three aspects, depending on your source) called the Morrígan, Morrígu, or Morrígna. A similar character also exists in Gaulish mythology called Catubodua or Bodua.

The Badb Catha aspect is a goddess of battles, and her name translates from the Old Irish as “battle crow”. I produced an earlier linoprint of Badb Catha in 2012 at the time that I was constructing a crow mask for the series of Badb Catha photographs.

Much of my recent artwork has been based around re-imagining mythological characters in a more devolved, primal form, wondering about the more primitive myths and characters that they evolved from over the millenia.

While I certainly don’t claim any historical accuracy in what is only my own imagination and speculation, I have spent some time researching the subject. I’ve been particularly intrigued by the Proto-Indo-European cultures whose influence — in language, culture, and mythology — expanded across Europe and Western Asia in the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

Most of the descriptions that we have of mythological characters are from the years of the Roman Empire or the early Christian period that followed, and with each re-telling the characters and their stories continued to evolve right up to the present day, with changes being made with each re-telling to suit the social mores of the time. I am interested in what the earlier, more primitive version were like, before they were romanticised and modernised.

Obviously my own re-imaginings are just as subjective and steeped in their time as the Medieval re-tellings of the Arthurian cycle or the Romantic-era translations of the Mabinogion. Any myth is shaped by the culture that re-tells it, but I hope that I’ve managed to strip away at least some of the more sanitised layers to bring out an echo of an earlier, more primal myth.