Heraldic Crests for Invasive Species:
American Bullfrog, North American Gray Squirrel, Wild Boar, European Rabbit,
North American Signal Crayfish, Ruddy Duck, Chinese Mitten Crab. Zebra Mussel,
Slipper Limpet, Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, Piri-Piri Burr.
Series of twelve letterpress prints on Somerset paper
Individual prints, edition of 10
Set of all twelve prints, edition of 4
Dimensions 18" x 16"
Drawing assistant Ellen Anne Burtner
I was awarded a research residency through ISIS Arts in Newcastle, Northumberland, England in summer 2009. In 2011, I completed a series of letterpress prints, featuring twelve of the predominant invasive species in Northern England, and describing their origins, allies, enemies and victories. Heraldic Crests for Invasive Species leverages a local narrative language of power and conquest. I chose twelve of the species that have caused the most trouble in Northern England, and wanted to give them their due as powerful creatures, a kind of nouveau riche who moved in and got themselves some land and a new coat of arms. In an additional turn, the twelve species were chosen for their edibilty: some are eaten in their countries of origin, some even considered delicacies; others were introduced as food schemes that went awry. Other species' edibilty is incidental: they were first imported as exotic ornamentals in ponds or gardens or came as hitchhikers in the moving of global goods. The rhetoric around these species is combative and xenophobic, and they are usually vilified as foreign enemies. Eating them could make a dent in their adaptive successes, yet eating them is almost taboo.
As the Romans said, De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum: There's no accounting for taste.