Monday, February 1, 2010

Icarus: The Flight of No Return

Although warned by his father, Daedalus, not to fly too near to the sun, Icarus ignored the warning. Perhaps, it was the joy of flying, the great escape, the freedom, at last, from exile in Crete.

Daedalus, a fine craftsman, the story goes, was imprisoned by King Minos for whom he had built the Labyrinth to imprison the Minotaur. (Half man, half Bull). To escape, according to Greek Mythology, he carefully fashioned two pairs of wings, one for his son and one for himself. He spent a long time studying the flight of birds and the design of their wings. He built his wings out of feathers and wax. The design and construction worked.

Before the day of the escape, Daedalus warned his son Icarus, not to fly too close to the sun or too close to the sea. Whether by sheer euphoria, teenage zest for a thrill or he simply forgot the warning, With no altimeter to indicate the altitude, Icarus flew too close to the sun. Predictably, the wax melted, the feathers dropped out of the wings, he flapped harder, to no avail, soon he started falling and plunged to his death in the sea. Today, hang gliding, gliding, parachuting, kites and other variations have replaced feathers and wax. But thrill seekers must be careful.

Here are a few pieces of art on paper, in mixed media, I created, in the 90's, while reflecting on the myth. Other examples in this series can be found at-

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