Tanngnjostur og Tanngrisnir
My Co:Lab cohorts and I were recently asked if we'd like to submit work for this year's Christmas exhibition at the North Rock Gallery. We were, of course, more than happy to take on the challenge and we each set about interpreting their Yule time theme.
Although briefly tempted to tackle the story of the Yule Cat, it was the Julbocken or Yule Goat that, in my research, excited me most. Generally represented in straw bound in red ribbon, the Yule Goat is a strikingly simple and beautiful sight and would lend itself well to screenprinting.
However, as I explored the history, I was increasingly intrigued by it's links with the legend of the Norse God Thor who rode through the skies in a chariot drawn by two goat, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (teeth-barer and teeth grinder). At the end of each night Thor would slaughter and feast on his goats only to resurrect them with his mystical hammer the next day and set out anew. I was struck by and sympathised with the curious daily routine these goats would endure and the loyalty they seemingly showed their master.
In my illustration I was most keen to capture that sense of burden these goats carry and contrast it with the spritely enthusiasm of them as newly born kids. I've taken a few liberties in my interpretation of this but it seems fairer on the goats to allow the scene to be reimagined in new ways.
The text in the composition, with the help of google, translates from the Icelandic as "born again with each new dawn"