Here there be monsters.
And in Norfolk, there should be, too. What better way to pay homage to our sea-faring history than with art depicting monsters of the sea?
Since sailors first traversed the ocean, legendary tales of sea monsters arose: the Hydra, Kraken, Loch Ness Monster. Sailors around the world have returned to port with stories of monstrous beasts who live under the water.
They’re blamed for everything from the innocuous to the disastrous. When a sailor goes missing at sea, a vision of a lone tentacle silently sliding up out of the water in the dead of the night, grabbing its unsuspecting victim and dragging him down to a watery grave is imagined. When a ship goes down in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by nothing but water, no land in sight, it can only be the work of a giant squid raising out of the water and swallowing it whole. Sailors around the world and throughout time have come home to tell these tales, and Norfolk is no different.
Art by Filthy Luker | Picture from CityLab
We should celebrate our nautical heritage by placing paintings of sea monsters on ferries and maybe even giant robotic or inflatable sea monsters around the Hague. Whenever I’m with friends’ children and they see ripples in the water out front of The Chrysler Museum, I like to imply they’re upsetting the Hague Monster and soon he will come to devour them. Mystery and intrigue that surrounds sea monsters are captivating. The Duck was great, but how amazing would giant tentacles coming out of the water and clinging to the statue in front of the Chrysler be? Florentijn Hofman, the artist behind the Duck, has already created a similar Hippo, and what is a hippo, really? It’s a passive precursor to an even more epic water creature.
Hofman’s hippo | Image from designboom.com
Thanks in large part to the Arts District and The Chrysler Art Museum, Norfolk has been immersed in art lately. From giant ducks, murals, and pop up galleries, art is beginning to fill the city. So why stop there on land? Why not add a bit of intrigue and mystery to our waterways? Some art for ferry riders to enjoy. Or more ambitiously sea monster animatronics in the water to stir the imaginations…