Home > About the Artwork > About "QUEEN ALEXANDRIA'S BIRDWING"

  This piece is part of one of my signature series of paintings, called either "Butterfly Reflection" or "Butterfly Kiss". The image is an optical illusion--simultaneously a butterfly and two profiles that converge into one large face. It can be interpreted as either one face kissing its reflection (love for and appreciation of one's self) or two different faces kissing (love for and appreciation of the other.) Whether it is a kiss or a reflection, the two images unite to make one larger, more mysterious entity.

There are many symbolic meanings that various cultures throughout the world have given to butterflies. In the western world, butterflies are symbols of freedom, fun, and joy, as well as rebirth and resurrection. In Mandarin Chinese, butterflies are believed to symbolize long life, ironically because the butterfly stage of their life cycle lasts, on average, only a week. They also are thought to represent souls and marital bliss. No matter what meaning people have given butterflies, they are always seen as uplifting, fascinating creatures.

The mosaic on this piece is made with eco-friendly, farmed butterfly wings. The butterflies I use are farmed in third-world countries. Once the butterflies die, the farmers collect and sell the insects instead of poaching them or logging the valuable rainforest, which makes my pieces Eco-friendly.

The farms are in Peru, Madagascar, the Central African Republic, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Mexico.

Two of the species I used, the Blue Morpho and the Madagascan Sunset Moth, were endangered species before the butterfly farms stabilized and replenished their populations.

The butterfly image is based on the Queen Alexandra's Birdwing (example below), a currently-endangered butterfly species endemic to Papua New Guinea. The Antanae Foundation that had started the Blue Morpho and Sunset Moth farms is currently fundraising to start a Birdwing farm in Papua New Guinea-- so the painting is a surrealistic interpretation of a currently endangered butterfly made out of formerly, but no longer, endangered butterflies.

—Alina Eydel