The Hug Squad

Cameron

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
12 x 12 cm 2020

CAMERON is the world’s largest squirrel. He was kindly asked to leave by his kin as he would gobble up all the acorns.

Luckily, he has found a friend in Sir Ewen, who is the only remaining white wolf in his dimension. Cameron will often keep him company. They make each other laugh and keep each other warm. As Sir Ewen will not leave his den very often, Cameron is out and about on his own a lot. He considers himself quite the luminary as humas tend to mistake him for the last white wolf.

CAMERON is torn between two worlds. He is outgrown one, while the other is just a little beyond his scope. He will step up and learn the ways of the wolf. But he can’t do it alone. No one can. And no one should. He teaches you to challenge yourself and take the next step. Be brave, so is he.

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Darius

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
12 x 12 cm 2020

Darius is the world’s largest bunnyrabbit. To be more specific, he is Giant Country’s smallest bunnyrabbit. He had been living in Giant Country as much for the entertainment as to the confusion of the Giants. Giants would be amused to tears by the size of this tiny bunnyrabbit one moment and utterly confused as they would lose it the next, due to their clumsiness and species-specific myopia.

“Wheresitgone?” They would shout. And when they would find him, they would squeal his name in utter euphoria: “Darius!” One day, Darius found a bunnyrabbithole, leading him straight to our side of this world, where he was lovingly taken in by a family who eventually guessed his name through the exhausting process of exclusion.

DARIUS is all coziness and fluff. He’s so happy to be part of your family and thrilled you now know his name.

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Jacob, Ludwig & Carl

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
12 x 12 cm 2020

Jacob Ludwig and Carl are collectors of facts. Their publications are part of a scholarly project to identify and preserve the spirit of white fluffy creatures. Much to their frustration, they are not taken seriously by academics at all and their findings seem to attract mostly children.

Among their self-proclaimed greatest achievements is the revelation of why owls always seem to wear glasses, while rabbits hardly ever seem to need them.

JACOB, LUDWIG & CARL believe in fairy tales. They are grown-up, sane, respectable creatures, who have not lost their sense of wonder.

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Joseph

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
12 x 12 cm 2020

Joseph is the first baby koala. There are koala’s but they all seemed to have opened their eyes at the same moment, and when they did, they were all grown up. No koala ever knew where koalas came from, so the elder koalas tell the younger ones, koala’s come from pearls. And so it’s always been, and so it shall be.

One Easter morning, an exceptionally bright pearl cracked, and in it was an actual baby Koala, the first one ever. All elder Koalas gathered around him and decided to call him Joseph.

JOSEPH is the Benjamin of the Squad. Although he hasn’t been around for long, he is loved all around and has the ability to connect and unite.

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Plinius the Elder

Chris Berens

mixed media on paper
12 x 12 cm 2020

Plinius looks a bit grumpy but is intensely misunderstood while he is in fact a gentlest of creatures.

His twin Nigidius wrote about him in the first century of the Common Era: “I do not like Plinius. No one does. Plinius is thought to be a very bad omen, being as it is a funereal bird. Besides that, he lives in deserts and in terrifying, empty and inaccessible places. Its cry is a scream. If it is seen in a city, or during the day, it is a direful portent, though several cases are known of Plinius perching on private houses without fatal consequences.” This is of course a textbook example of the strategy of an evil, envious twin and is not taken seriously whatsoever.

Plinius has an allience with Accipiter the hawk, another misunderstood creature with a pungent scream, who came to his aid after this defamation. Plinius is not fond of the island of Crete. He went there once but was very soon to leave.

PLINIUS is an introvert. He is a very melancholic being. He deeply empathizes with the grieving, the heartbroken and the sad and enjoys the silence of solitude. He prefers the night-time and rarely seeks out crowded places. He keeps you company in your darkest hours. He will not ask what’s wrong, he will not tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. He will just be there, sitting calmly and silently by your side.

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Phu

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
12 x 12 cm 2020

Phu is a Phooka in learning. Phooka’s are ghosts or other discarnate spirits in disguise. Phu has taken on the shape of a white furry bat. Phu is learning to be a friendly mimic who, with permission, utilizes other creatures’ bodies and take them for a ride of a lifetime. To be clear, it’s the soul that’s been taken on a journey, not the physical body itself. So no harm done, guaranteed fun for all parties involved.

Usually, it happens at nighttime, preferably when the lucky subject is asleep. In this case, Phu takes his buddy Timpi on a ride, who is in hibernation and always in for a fun experiment anyway, so it’s all good. Once fully trained, Phu will take Timpi on great adventures. He will hurry with him over precipices, carry him up into the moon, and down to the bottom of the sea. He’s not quite there yet, at this point he’s happy he’s managed to actually turn into something of a bat.

PHU is a storyteller. He will draw the curtain on a compelling opening scene and together you will embark upon a wondrous journey. The only boundaries will be the perimeters of your combined imagination. You just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

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Sedna

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
12 x 12 cm 2020

Sedna was once a girl who thought she was so breathtakingly beautiful, no man she had ever met deserved her. When she came of age, her father commanded her to marry the first person to enter the city, which happened to be a cloaked raven. The raven took her to his nest high up on a cliff in the midst of the open sea, but she did not care for it at all and she wanted to go home.

So, her father paddled to her rescue in his kayak and she jumped off the cliff into the kayak. She missed the kayak and crashed into the ocean and all of her toes and fingers snapped off. They slowly floated to the bottom of the sea, transforming into seals, sea lions, otters and walruses. Sedna too sank into the deep blue of the ocean where she was metamorphosed into a beautiful whale. All of her deep-sea friends gathered round her and worshipped her. There she has resided as the goddess of the sea ever since.

SEDNA will help you find your place in life and in this world. If you feel like you’re not good enough for your surroundings, or too good for that matter, that only means you’re not in the right place. She will take you by the hand and travel the world with you and stick with you, just as long as it takes to find your true shape, your place and your home.

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Sir Ewen

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
12 x 12 cm 2020

Sir Ewen is the last white wolf. He would prefer to stay indoors, if it weren’t for the fact that he is being chased by Cameron the Ghost Squirrel since 1680. This makes him jittery and ticklish. He is a rare sight nowadays, but from time to time, he can be seen wiggling and squirming around Killiecrankie.

SIR EWEN is dealing with some personal stuff. He feels responsible for things he can’t control. He is haunted by the past and afraid of the future. If only Sir Ewen would realize the cold draft in his neck will turn into a warm hug as soon as he finds the courage to simply turn around.

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Susu & Watari

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
12 x 12 cm 2020

Susu and Watari are Japanese dust bunnies. They roll around in your house, they sleep under your bed, snuggle up in corners and nooks. They appreciate and even applaud sloppiness. They feel too much dusting, vacuum cleaning, cleansing and wiping is a sin and a waste of time and energy.

SUSU and WATARI are the guardians of time, life and love. Their greatest reward is to watch you grow, evolve and live your life. They feel dust, scratches, scars, wrinkles, baldness and general decay, flaws and defects are the trophies of life. They are proof and witness of the most valuable thing we are given, time.

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Willem & Gerrit

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
12 x 12 cm 2020

Willem was a well-respected Polar bear in his day, but also, a bit of a scoundrel. One fine day, when he was hanging with his buddy and accomplice Gerrit “the Feather”, they saw a group of humans trying to get to the Far East by dragging their ship through the rough ice patches of the North Pole and set up camp in a poorly constructed cabin.

They watched them muddle for a bit before Willem decided to play a joke on them and scared them off, using his scariest voice. They both had a big laugh about it later and Willem wrote about it in his journal inside the cabin, which they decided to keep as a clubhouse.

WILLEM & GERRIT are your buddies. They’re there for you, they have your back. They might play a joke on you but it’s all good fun and they’re good enough sports to take a punch as well as dish them out.

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Abel

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

He is the first to venture off his home island. Seeing two unknown vessels appear at the horizon, he was quick to realize things could only go South from here. With a little help from his domestic friends, he grabbed and obscured the moon, for him and his friends to successfully remain unseen in the dark of night.

The ships stopped for a moment and then moved on. After the moon was reinstalled, he saw his fellow islanders had planted a flag with his name on it. And so, Abel had saved the day and he and his diabolical plan were to be forever remembered.

ABEL is fun. He is smart, he is brave and considerate of your feelings. He fights for the greater good and as long as no other being is hurt, he’s all in.

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Antoni

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Antoni is a very well-respected -albeit slightly odd- merchant, surveyor, wine gauger, glassblower and microbiologist. Among Antoni’s most notable accomplishments is his home-built microscope and his pioneering work for cell- and microbiology. He never washes his feet except once unintentionally, when he decided to stand in the water until barnacles started growing on his legs. He keeps flees in his socks and fly eggs in his armpits until they hatch, for research and good company.

ANTONI is a scientist in the broadest sense of the word. He is fascinated by everything. He studies the world with an open mind. He does not judge. He observes.

But most importantly, he SEES you. He will encourage you to follow your wildest dreams and cheers you on on all your endeavors.

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Aoshima

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Aoshima lives on an island in the Ehime Prefecture, which is mostly known for its very large feline resident. Aoshima was known to have outgrown local humans by ratio of 10:1.

But as both tourists and residents kept bringing her treats and offerings, in the last known poll the ratio had greatly increased to almost 36:1, until she had the exact measurements of the island itself, and the last human fled to the mainland, leaving her to be the sole resident and namesake of the island. Now her best friends are fish, coral and the occasional seagull. She’s one big, happy feline.

AOSHIMA still can feel lonely sometimes, too. Whenever she’s in need of human companionship, she visualizes her deepest wish, and a new friend presents itself from an unexpected angle. And there you are. You are everything she could hope for and she hopes the feeling is mutual.

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Caspar

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Caspar is a famous botanist. He stems from a long line of scientists suffering from a rare condition that resulted in the subject of their specialties manifesting out of the tops of their heads. After the mysterious passing of his grandfather the zoologist specialized in elephants; his father the planetologist and his uncle and fellow botanist and cartographer of the forests of Europe, he took on the job of finishing the uncompleted books his uncle left him.

He wisely decided to focus on the smaller species. He managed to complete and publish several works of importance on exotic plants. At the moment he is preparing a dissertation on ferns. It’s quite interesting and a lot of fun, but it does attract big bugs. He might consider a career of hat designer next.

CASPAR loves everything that grows. He is focused on organisms in distress or need of love and care. He can pick up on even the smallest of disturbances in the force and is happy to write a book about all your fears, anxieties, concerns, worries and pet peeves.

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Cecilia

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Cecilia was the favorite and most celebrated of the many pets of the Duke of Milan. She is best known as the subject of Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting the Ermine with a Lady. While posing for the painting, she invited Leonardo to meetings at which a menagerie of intellectuals discussed and studied human behavior.

CECILIA is a very confident, together lady. She knows what she wants, and she knows how to get it. She’s the toast of the town and can introduce you to just about anyone.

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Charles

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Charles is a well-known 17th century wolf who unwillingly laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale. As he had fallen desperately in love with an unidentified red creature. He followed it around the forest until he finally gathered the courage to ask it to marry him. The red creature mistook him in his carefully assembled attire for an imposter dressed as its grandmother and ran off to alarm the authorities. The heartbroken wolf has remained waiting in the clearing in the forest ever since, howling at the moon.

CHARLES is as devote as anyone can get. He’s very passionate, he’s loyal and willing to temporarily remove himself from the equation for the bigger cause. He is a romantic and despite all he still believes in true love.

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Charlotta

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

The heartwarming tale of Charlotta and the Ghost Marriage.

Charlotta and Fritz the Unwelcome Ghost -who we will from here on call Albert- were madly in love with one another. When Charlotta and Albert were both alive they were engaged to be bound in eternal matrimony, when suddenly Albert was chased into the afterlife. In the month of October, when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest, Charlotte can still be seen, patiently awaiting her beloved Albert to come and gallantly woo her.

CHARLOTTE is extremely loyal. When it comes to love she does not see any obstacles in difference of race, size, time, universe or dimension.

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Claude 9

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

When Claude 9 was still Claude, or maybe Claude one-and-a-half, but certainly no more than Claude 2, he was not much more than a pair of crystallized snowflakes, who found each other in the bleak midwinter. As the daylight dwindled, they found themselves attracting all sorts of fluffiness and merriment. Nowadays, they go by the name of Claude 9, known to spread joy, paint random objects in a bright shade of pink and occasionally take on a hitchhiker.

CLAUDE 9 is all love. He absorbs it, cultivates it, breeds it and passes it on. Claude 9 loves you with all his hearts, just as you are.

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Desiree

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

A magical white owl called Desirée, who despised the light, foretold a childless queen that she would soon have a daughter, told her to name the little girl Desirée and to invite the owl to her 1st birthday. In return, all the world would remain dark, as the owl loved the dark. He failed to mention the enchantment would last only as long as the dark.

On her first birthday, the little girl Desirée, who had never seen the light, wished for a magic, luminous dandelion to appear and for her to blow all the radiant fluff into the world so that she could finally see the world. Her wish was granted, she blew out the fluff into the world, and she transformed back into the owl’s long-time companion, a magical white doe.

DESIRÉE is the gentlest of creatures. She loves the dark but also enjoys spreading light and joy. She embraces your dark side just as much as the light within you.

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Dirk & Duyfken

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

The love story of DIRK and his DUYFKEN.

Dirk and Duyfken have had quite the adventure. They both thought they were the only one of their kind. One night, both Dirk and Duyfken had the same dream. A vision of another. One of the same species as themselves, out there in an unknown part of the world. After that night, they both went looking for their other half. Dirk set sail for the open sea and set foot on a newfound land. There he left a message for his illusive little dove to find and along with instructions how to find him and took off again.

Much later, Duyfken found Dirk’s plate, all covered in sand and dirt and sailed off in his direction, but not before writing a note on the same plate. Years later, Dirk passed the same island and saw Duyfken’s inscription. He left her another note and left to find her. And so it went on and on. When they were old and weary, they finally met and shared their identical stories. They were lovers with only each other on their minds, traveling identical paths, without ever meeting. Now, finally, they were whole, and they were home.

DIRK & DUYFKEN are a brave old couple. They have both seen a lot and have had some wonderful adventures. Their story is one of hope and despair, of love and loss, but with a warm and fuzzy end and no regrets. They remind us to never despair, you will meet your soulmate, in this life or the next. Which is all the same in the end anyway.

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Doria

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Doria is slow and clumsy on the ground and does not hop very well. However, in the air, Doria is fearless and agile and free. She designed and built her own special flying device because she didn’t want to let her limitations define her.

Her family tree is peculiar, at least. Among her forefathers and offspring are a hawk, a cave beetle, a yellow scorpion, a frog, a slug, a daddy longlegs and various species of weevils.

DORIA is an anomaly. She might seem awkward or goofy, but she has her own, very specific set of skills. She would never have found them if she would have been afraid to think outside the box, to fail or to make a fool of herself. She is here for you as an example and to encourage you to find your unique talent.

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Emanuel

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Emanuel is a painter and a horticulturist. Being the only creature within The Hug Squad gifted with both gifts of creating and cultivating, he is given the wonderful task of painting, designing and thinking up plants that do not exist.

A few examples of plants made up by Emanuel are the fly paper plant, the dancing plant, the parachute plant, back bat flower, dragon’s blood tree, jelly fish tree, monkey face orchid, flying duck orchid, cobra lily, hooker’s lips and swaddled babies.

EMANUEL is a magical and associative thinker. He does not see or acknowledge the difference between ‘real’ and ‘not real’ and is in no way bound by scientific restrictions. He invites you to both explore the magical and the natural world and enjoy all its wonders.

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Emma

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Emma is a good and beautiful creature. She’s a moon child. She is overly sensitive to bright light; she prefers the dark. She is the queen of her own little kingdom within the dark forest. She is young and small but make no mistake, she is fierce and a true warrior.

All animals are her friends, she sees the light in the dark, the beauty in the beast, and she will find treasures in the unlikeliest of places. She is a witch apprentice and enjoys making potions, charging crystals and casting spells. At times, she’ll feel a little hollow inside but that is because she is all heart. A beautiful, fur lined, bunny shaped warm heart.

She feels. Everything. Deeply. This is not her weakness but is in fact her greatest power. She guides you through your pain, your fears and your doubts and she helps you to release them into the absorbing black. And then, as if by magic, you are free. As is she.

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Gilbert (Gilly)

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Gilbert is a gentle sea monster. She has been waiting for her lover to return for many centuries now. She has a spotlight on her day and night and only wants to be seen from her good side. Around a centuries ago, she accidentally crashed into a large ship and parts of it she now wears as fashionable accessories. Some might find her vain, but she has her beacon lit for her husband to be able to find her and she wears her finest gown and jewelry for when he does.

GILLY is a beacon of hope. She is faithful, considerate and courteous and wants to make an effort for her loved ones to feel welcome and at home.

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Hattie

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Hattie is an elephant from NYC, that in 1904 was described as “the most intelligent of all elephants”. In 1911 she was portrayed as “nearly human”.

She owes her name to the fact that in 1887 she was the first elephant to ever wear a hat. It wasn’t until 1902 that it was discovered she not only manufactured her hats herself, she lived on the Upper East Side because of the park view and high ceilings, she was a fond interpreter of Buddy Bolden’s ragtime oeuvre, recites Baudelaire, has a strong preference for speaking correctly and was known to correct her visitors’ grammar.

HATTIE is a distinguished matriarch with a firm hand who always knows what’s best. But also, she is a loving granny who insists you stay for dinner, will cover you in hugs and wet kisses and force-feed you cider and cookies when you’re in town.

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Honey

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Also known as the Louisiana Honey Island Swamp Monster.

Who she is or where she comes from remains a mystery. One of the many legends tells of a train wreck in the area in the early 20th century. According to the legend a traveling circus was on the train and from it a group of chimpanzees escaped and interbred with the local alligator population.

She is described as bipedal 7 feet (2 m) tall with gray hair and red eyes and accompanied by a disgusting smell. But don’t tell her all this, she’s a gentle soul and easily upset. Also, she’s a big fan of saltwater taffy. the Pink ones, not the Grey or the sugar free ones, they apparently have a rather unpleasant aftertaste.

HONEY is just the sweetest. She could never hurt a soul and all she wants is to be your friend and for you to love her back. She teaches us to love unconditionally and to trust that inside beauty will find its way out through the cracks.

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Iya

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Iya is a storm monster. In various traditions she is considered a demon. The tornado, the snowstorm, the hurricane and the thunderstorm are all considered manifestations of this deity. She travels with her storms in a tipi painted with magical symbols. She enjoys running through the crops in springtime. She likes dancing with the leaves during the fall. She lives with her mother, Unk, who calls her her Little Teacup.

IYA is high-spirited and fiery. Even though she can be a little wild and reckless, she has a good heart and it’s just a storm in a teacup. She invites you to not be afraid of the storm but to dance in the rain. She will be dancing right beside you.

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Jack

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Throughout many cultures cats are considered to be mystical creatures whose eyes are windows peering in from other worlds. In the case of Jack, this is actually true. Jack, the Norwegian Forest Cat is a fairy or a goblin in disguise. Sometimes he’s a fairy, sometimes a goblin, sometimes a troll, and sometimes he’s a creature we wouldn’t even remotely have a word for.

If you stare deeply into his eyes you can see visions of the worlds of the creatures that are watching us through those peering eyes.

JACK is a cat. Only his cat shaped vessel is from this world. What goes on on the inside is definitely not. He sees things you don’t see. He looks at you from another dimension. He analyzes and balances you with a supernatural yardstick. And however peculiar or abstract his findings, tomorrow his judgement might be utterly, unexpectedly insightful, confronting or equally confusing.

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Joe

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

JOE is the leader of The Hug Squad. He’s sensible, he’s decent, he’s fair but he will not put up with any more shenanigans.

He has known victory and he has known loss which makes him understanding and empathic to those in need. His favorite food is pasta, his favorite dessert is ice-cream.

JOE is a natural leader with enough mileage to his credit to know the way out of the woods.

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Johanna

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

JOHANNA, Hans to her friends, is a mycologist and the first lagomorph professor. She comes from a wealthy, intellectual and artistic family of doctors and is the oldest of seventy-three children.

As a child she refused to take embroidery classes and told her mother she would make sure she would earn enough carrots to have all her cleaning duties done for her when she was grown up.

She became a loved and legendary teacher. She wrote over 70 publications and with every graduation ceremony, she had a tradition of making geese, wearing fashionable bows parade around the burrows. Besides her surreal sense of humor, she was known by her close friends as loving to party, drink and dance and without an interest in marriage or reproduction.

JOHANNA is a teacher and a role model. She is keen on passing along her knowledge as well as her utter disrespect of protocol or social expectations.

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Juno

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Juno is a divine creature. She is made from light and transfers it onto the world. Where she goes flowers start to grow, birds start to sing and babies start to giggle. She lives by the cycle of the moon and uses its powers to manifest her dreams.

She is a domestic goddess and takes pride in making her home a warm and safe place. She loves decorating, making art and arranging flowers. She will usually have a pot simmering on the stove and fumes in all the colors of the rainbow drifting out of her chimney.

She’s always in a good mood, she’s caring and kind and has the ability to make you feel good about yourself. She is a healer and makes your sadness simply dissolve in her light. Also, she likes birds. She talks to them and her best friend is a peacock.

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Linnaeus (Lynn)

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Lynn is from Sweden and lover of all things living. As a child, his parents used to give him a flower when he was upset, which seemed to calm him.

When he was grown up, he had grown so sick and tired of being chased after by sailors calling him a unicorn fish, he developed an organized system of naming plants and animals and minerals that is still used today.

LYNN is a benevolent creature, who loves and respects all life on earth. He will appreciate you for who you are, where you are from, for your kingdom, your phylum, your class, order and family but is extremely allergic to disorder and sloppiness and will call you on it.

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Louis

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Louis is the first rabbit to successfully appear from a hat in the year 1814.

The unsuspecting man whose top hat Louis had managed to crawl out of, stood trial before 3 Kings for an unknown crime. He stood before the defiant task to impress all three Kings, on penalty of banishment from the Kingdom.

The accused was of little talent, skill or genius. He was just about to take his loss, bid his Kings farewell, grab his belongings and go into exile, when he saw 2 fluffy ears peeking out from the brim of his top-hat.

Louis remained a celebrity for many years. Up until this day, Louis still loves to emerge unannounced from top hats. Nowadays, it’s usually magicians he surprises, as top hats have been out of fashion for decades.

LOUIS has faith in you. He will stand by your side and make sure you succeed. Even though it may feel like you have to do everything by yourself, he will stick with you and make sure you get the job done. He will not give up on you. He is lovable, cuddly, is fond of narrow dark places and carrots. He makes YOU look good.

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Maria

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

The uplifting tale of an ancient donkey who had never seen the ocean and made a couple of unexpected friends that taught her one is never too old to learn new things.

MARIA is brave, she’s stable and kind. She likes to surround herself with youth and changes her scenery every now and then to keep her mind and her legs flexible.

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Max

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

MAX has the ability to change his surroundings with his mind. He does it to escape, to hide, or to dream and visit magical places. He used to be angry and blunt. He would often travel to eerie worlds inhabited by hideous beasts who he would fight and oppress.

Now Max is almost all grown up. Overall, he has calmed down and he has learned to love and respect his subordinates and now they are the best of friends. Together they have a lot of fun.

MAX is the wild thing living within you. All in all, he’s a benevolent creature. He needs his space and eventually he will calm down. Nonetheless, it is quite crucial to occasionally throw in a full moon for him to howl at, as he needs to rampage and blow out his flagrant fumes.

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Minerva

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Minerva resides in the depth of the forests, in the midst of creatures, creepers and critters that crawl. She is the only one who oversees it all. She’s wise, observant, calm and cool. She knows exactly what’s going on, what it all means, what’s right and what’s not, what mistakes are made and what lessons can be learned. She will, however, only spread her wings with the falling of the dusk.

MINERVA is the teacher and the guide. She has all the knowledge and the answers but will not simply hand you the solution on a gold platter as she knows that will not help you in the long run. You are the captain and hold the reins and one day you will be able to oversee it all and strike a balance.

In the meantime, she will stand by you and look over your shoulder and perhaps give you a nudge now and then.

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Snow & Alaska

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Snow & Alaska are companions, rivals, each other’s opposites and reflection. Where there’s one, there’s bound to be the other not far behind. Sometimes in plain sight, sometimes hidden away and sometimes disguised as the other. The one you feed is the one that will get on top.

ALASKA is compassionate, loving, generous, truthful and peaceful. SNOW is her perfect opposite. They are both in need of attention, as they live within you. Alaska should be given nourishment and support. This way, she will gain strength and become your steady companion, your guide and protector.

SNOW is in need of care and consideration, too. When you calmly pay attention to Snow, acknowledge her existence and take her for what she is, she will lay down next to you as a watchful shepherd.

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Thomas

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Thomas is a very curious rabbit. He used to stand on the beach, gaze out towards the open sea, his eyes fixed on the horizon. One day he decided to take the plunge and swim South.

Now Thomas has found a new island, where no rabbit has ever set foot. As soon as he climbed ashore, it felt like home. After a while he started to feel a bit lonely and found himself talking to a low-hovering cloud. The minute the cloud started to talk back he had an epiphany. He has written his 12 siblings to come over.

THOMAS is a family-man. He acknowledges the added value of sharing. He’s not afraid to try on new things but he’ll always put his family first.

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Wendi

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm2020

WENDI is a wendigo. The first one, and if it’s up to her, the only one.

Wendi is over 15 feet tall, red eyes and mouth and matted with fur. She was once human but was transformed into a kind monster centuries ago because she resorted to some bad chicken while lost out in the remote forests. She still has the ability to take on human form in order not to scare her guests and invite them to her dinner table.

Wendi roams the desolate places away from civilization. She waits for exhausted travelers to pass by who will generally hear Wendi’s voice calling their names faintly in the wind. A warm breeze reminiscent of home then leads them into a warm and cozy cave, where Wendi will serve a crispy roasted chicken and some veggies while there’s a fruit cobbler in the oven.

WENDI looks out for you when you’re lost in the woods. She will take you in, take care of you and comfort you and make sure you’ll recuperate and revitalize so you can get you back on your feet and out into the storm again.

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Willebrord

Chris Berens

mixed media on panel
18 x 13 cm 2020

Willebrord is obsessed with measuring the circumference of the earth. He is the first to try since Eratosthenes in the third century BC. Of course, back then the earth was still flat, so Eratosthenes fell off the edge of the earth. Unfortunately that is, as according to his friends, he was a good guy.

Willebrord has come up with a theory where he has made a model of the moon with a certain circumference, multiply that by the angle from which he sees all the church spires from where he stands. Ask a passerby to stand opposite him, wait for the moon to rise from behind him, then take a number of steps away from him, until the moon has the exact same size as the one on his head, measure the distance between him and you, and then there’s something to do with the refraction of light.

It may not seem like much, but he’s definitely on to something.

WILLEBRORD is surprisingly clever. He has a lot on his mind but is always prepared to involve you in his process and he values your company and appreciates you your input and ideas.

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About

Jaski Gallery is situated in the heart of Amsterdam’s Art & Antiques district, where we’ve been since 1988. We specialise in work from the CoBrA movement and contemporary art. The gallery regularly stages exhibitions and takes part in major art fairs such as TEFAF in Maastricht and PAN Amsterdam. We are open seven days a week.

Contact

Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 29
1017 DB Amsterdam
Open daily 12:00 – 18:00
+31 20 6203939
info@jaski.nl