The Creation of Medusa
By Dominique Dennery July 8, 2020
If you are familiar with ancient Greek mythology (or the movie Pirates of the Caribbean!), you know of the monster called Medusa whose hair was made of live snakes and who possessed magical powers. What you may not know is that Medusa has deeper roots in Mycenean and Sumerian cultures where she was the Mother Goddess. The head of snakes symbolized the connection between the natural and supernatural worlds, eternal life and supreme feminine wisdom.
I became fascinated by this mythological creature while on sabbatical in Sri Lanka ten years ago. I didn’t know why and just knew that I had to sculpt her. I was baffled that I wanted to sculpt snakes in a country full of real snakes, many of them poisonous! The other sculptors or painters at the studio would go by my station and chudder or laugh.
My teacher, the famous Sarath Chandrajeewa was curious as to my choice of subject. As I was shaping the snakes on her head, he guided me in positioning the smaller clay snakes so they wouldn’t dry up and fall! He pointed to the branches I had created on her head and told me that 5 was a sacred number (of course, pentagon!). He approved of the bigger snakes in the middle of the head resting on the crown chakra and the one down her forehead positioned on her 6th chakra or third eye. I was floored! He spoke of the kundalini energy of snakes that represent rebirth, and told me my life would never be the same!
So I looked her up, and at first only saw images of the monster. I dug deeper and found her mysterious roots in the divine feminine. Wow. I knew all of us were connected somehow to the collective unconscious, but this was uncanny. I continued to refine her shape, elongating her neck, using her bust as a stand, mixing human features with less human ones. Since she was all powerful, I decided to close her eyes to show her gathering her strength rather than spewing rage at humans.
The result is powerful. My teacher decided to cast her in his own foundry, not wanting her to be processed in a commercial outfit and reproduced without my consent. We discussed the patina and decided on a gold body and vert-de-gris patina and left a rough texture to make her look like an ancient Sumerian treasure dug up from a temple deep under the ground.
When I returned to Canada, I decided to make Medusa my totem and name my artist website after her.
And the prediction came true, my life changed radically. A few short months after my return to Canada, I was selling my sculptures and getting private commissions. Some years later, I was commissioned to do public art. I never would have imagined these developments, ever.
And life was never the same.
Medusa, monster or goddess?
By Dominique Dennery September 5, 2017
Medusa is represented today as a monster but was once a matriarchal goddess who was the bridge between the material and spirit worlds. One of statues was commissioned by a client for his wife, and the other was a flight of fancy. And my flight of fancy is of course blue!
This time it’s a mysterious deep blue that takes on some green accents as it moves into the snake headdress. How I love bringing an ancient myth alive!
Which do you prefer, the classic gold and soft verdigris of an ancient Mesopotamian treasure or the mysterious magical blue of fictional Atlantis?
I expect I will come out of my blue phase some day with a deep desire for another colour, but not quite yet.
By Dominique Dennery April 3, 2014
I lead a pretty full life, but I must say the last month was the most intense I have experienced in a long while! Not only was I busy in my day job facilitating, coaching, consulting, travelling, but also I was just as busy on the art front. Be careful what you ask for! The Artist is smiling proudly, the entrepreneur and woman is almost out of breath. The BHM Art Show from February 6th to March 16th at the Fritzi Gallery was a success. Great exposure. The Rogers TV appearance on February 20th as Ginette Gratton’s guest was very enjoyable, with some guilt over the money spent on a new dress, necklace and shoes…. The article on yours truly in Ottawa Woman Magazine (Feb issue) was a nice surprise. It mentioned that I sculpt full time. Not quite true (smile).
One of the proudest moments was getting a call from the Haitian Embassy to compliment me on my work and ask if I would participate in future projects with them and the Haitian diaspora. I feel blessed. My feet have not quite touched the ground. Thank you all for your gracious support through this eventful time!
Thanks For The Memories!
By Dominique Dennery April 2, 2014
The month-long exhibit at the Fritzi Gallery has come to an end. What a rich experience! Being chosen with 4 other women artists to participate in a show for Black History Month was both a pleasure and an honour. Our art pieces in bronze, glass, paper clay or acrylic were diverse and complimentary. The synergy during the Artist Talk was palpable.
When one of the audience members asked us what we do when we are involved in creation and it’s past our bedtime, we answered in unison: “We don’t stop!” And laughed. Since then, we have exchanged information, resources, traded pictures. Thank you Malika Welch, our Curator for bringing us together!
By Dominique Dennery November 18, 2012
Two of Dominique Dennery’s bronze sculptures will be proudly displayed at the Figureworks 2012 exhibit at theSaint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, 310 St. Patrick Street.
Figureworks curates juried annual award shows in Ottawa, Canada. Both national and international artists who work with the human form as their subject matter are welcome to participate. All media are accepted.
The third annual Figureworks award show takes place at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, 302 St.Patrick street, Ottawa, from November 20 till December 2, 2012