Emma Fick Art

Fine Art Prints

Louisiana Mythology: White Egret Alkonost

Louisiana Mythology: White Egret Alkonost


Printed on archival, 100% cotton Hahnemühle Museum Etchings paper. 

Limited edition run of 50. Each signed and numbered by the artist. 

14x20" (paper dimensions only; print comes unframed and un-matted).

Original: watercolor and ink on Arches cold-press paper, 2017.


Alkonost is the Russian name for the half-bird, half-woman creatures that appear in Russia's vibrant and ancient folklore tradition. In this series, I play with both composite creatures (birds and humans) and composite cultures (Russian and Louisianan) to create a new mythology, a new kind of alkonost, one that protects various elements of the Louisiana landscape.

In the Louisiana Mythology series, I strive to create a visual language specific to the state in which each element can be read and parsed out almost like a book. Louisiana is already rich in its cultural icons, natural landscapes, and fables, and in much of my work I play with these extant cultural components, layering them atop other traditions and visual languages.

Here, the White Egret Alkonost is enthroned on an oak tree draped in Spanish Moss and watches over the Caladiums. Her crown holds a river fish. She is a celestial being who guards the Louisiana landscape.

 Protection and guardianship-- specifically female guardianship-- appear frequently in my paintings. Much like a talisman you wear around your neck, I like the idea that a painting can be a protective object for your wall, can act as guardian of your space. The alkonosts have dominion over their static ecosystem in the particular world of the painting-- in this case, the oak tree, the Spanish Moss, the caladiums, the fish-- but as an object on your wall, they also serve as guardians over your room, your space, whatever dynamic ecosystem they come to occupy. They protect two worlds: the world of the painting and the world they see from their perch on the wall.

Though the Louisiana Mythologies themselves are figments of my imagination, the visual references (almost always from nature) are quite literal and real, and consistently specific to Louisiana. Similarly, the cultural references are rooted in history and fact: the alkonosts, for instance, appear in ancient Russian folklore in both word and image and can be studied and enjoyed apart from my work.

If you like this piece, you can look at the other pieces in the Louisiana Mythology series (Blue Heron and Brown Pelican). Alkonosts also appear in Guardians of the Magnolia 1, 2, and 3, and Guardians of the Mirliton.

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