Origin

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Proveniencia FINAL smaller

+++‘bem-te-vi–bem-te-vi
the shrill decree
of resident kiskadee
resonates in still
morning mist
+++ ‘I saw you well’
but whom did he see?
This, he would not tell.

by Jason Weaver, 2013

Author’s Note:
“Proveniência,”–2013 (which translates to ‘provenance’ or ‘origin’) is an original acrylic on canvas, 24″x36″, painted by me and commissioned by my Aunt Mary Shirk, who lives in Pennsylvania, US. It depicts my take on the original Pardise, where birds reenact the eating of the apple, in this case, a guava. The Kiskadee, pictured middle-right,  is called ‘Bem-te-vi’ in Brazil (promounce BAYM-che-vee), which is not only his name, but also what he says, which translates to “I saw you well.” In fable, it was the Bem-te-vi who alerted the Jews to Jesus with his cry “I saw you well” (whether purposefully or accidentally was not explained to me in the tale). The other two birds depicted in this Garden of Eden are ‘japu’ (Crested Oropendola), top left, and Sabiá Laranjeira, or the Rufous-bellied Thrush, which is the National Bird of Brazil. All three birds have very distinct and beautiful calls. The plants in this scene are all drawn from actual plants in my forest garden– bananas, guava tree, taioba (the green/purple leaves on the bottom right) and Costela de Adão (Adam’s Ribs) on the bottom left.  The red flower in the front center is called a Anthurium Andreanum or Painter’s Tongue (among other names) which is said to represent hospitality.  This particular bunch of bananas I had personally cut down, drew, and then (when ripened) ATE (of course, I shared with the Marmosets and birds as well).  It is up to the viewer to decide who ate of the fruit, as in this interpretaion, the Kiskadee  will not tell. Besides, in this version of Proveniéncia, innocence is kept.

Note of change: I updated this poem from the orignial posting by adding the word “This” to the final line for better rhyme and rhythm. I had initially omitted it, and then, upon umteenth reading, decided to add it in again 🙂

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49 thoughts on “Origin

  1. oh wow that is a rather fascinating bit of history behind the bird…and its habits as well in re-eating the apple…ha…i will never tell…that is def best…lol…

  2. love the poem, love the painting. The birds are great: am a sucker/stickler for bird paintings (have them all over my house). I love the feel – there’s a real heat emanating from both words and image.

  3. beautiful painting and words!!! reminds me a bit of my travels in Guatemala, in the jungle. Henri Rousseau’s got nothing on you. The colors, composition, handling of light, the depth, amazing.

    • Thank you, Pamela– between moving, finishing my painting, and a 7-week travel, I couldn’t put my best words forward…but I have returned. Thanks for the wishes 🙂 ~Jason

  4. Wow, Jason. Both your art and poetry are stunning. And I’m so glad you included a bit of background information. As I bird lover, I’d love to add Brazil to my bucket list. Amazing birds down that way.

    • The birds here, as well as the rest of the flora and fauna are simply spectacular– and have influenced me tremendously. I just hope to do them some justice. Thanks so much for the great comment ~peace, Jason

  5. Some people are just way too talented … smiles. I couldn’t be trusted with paint and a brush.

    Both the painting and the poem are really good; I love that the bird knows the meaning of confidentiality … smiles

  6. I loved the poem as soon as I read it! Then, when I read that you painted the image, I was even more impressed. The history of the story and the legends of Brazil added even more depth. So glad I stopped by!

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