Chickee: Kishan Munroe breathes life into the Chickcharney
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For generations, Bahamian folklore has articulated the story of a mythical creature that resides in the forests of Andros Island – the largest land mass in our archipelago. And, while no living person can truthfully say that they have ever seen this owl-like creature, the Chickcharney needs no modern day ‘sighting’ to prove its existence in the hearts and minds of the Bahamian people.
Old stories tell the tale of the mischievous Chickcharney living among the tree tops of the pine forests and casting alternating spells of good and evil on unsuspecting humans.
One look from this mysterious creature could give you good luck for an eternity if you are good or turn your head around if you were evil. The stories spoke of the creature’s unique look – a look that has been captured by one of the country’s prolific artists, Kishan Munroe.
His Chickcharney, or ‘Chickee’ as she is affectionately called has large piercing eyes, four toes, three fingers, wings and a tail, much like the creature described during those hushed, haunting stories of the past. Munroe’s dynamic rendering will challenge any non-believer’s doubt that this mystical being indeed existed beyond the ramblings of those long ago storytellers.
“Chickee’s vision is intended to bring wisdom, vibrancy and exuberance to the young people from all over the world who will see her,” he said. “She is intended to be an inspiration, an important element to an event that features diverse peoples all convening in one place.”
Inspired by his own work, Munroe views his art as a universal exploration. Although fresh from a residency in Russia, He considers it a privilege to be a member of the Commonwealth and sees Chickee as an opportunity to have a ‘common exchange’ with young people from all over the world. His inspiration has led him to dedicate a body of his artwork in 2017 to the youth of this world.
Chickee herself believes that the youth are the future of the Commonwealth and indeed the world. Her very existence represents the value of each Commonwealth territory. Munroe says that he wishes that Chickee puts a magical spell of goodwill on all of the Commonwealth countries during 2017 and beyond.