This greeting card was reproduced from an original artwork by Christina Gray for THASC Sales Co. which has employed a unique group of handicapped artists who create art to help rehabilitate themselves. They gain self-respect and pride through their artwork.
Christina Gray’s fiery design “Zebra” displays still another medium used by a Thasc artist: batik fabric painting. In this composition one gets lost in the beautiful maze of such a gracious animal while the bright red and yellow colors
accentuate the unique distinction the zebra has in the equestrian world. As humans have fingerprints, zebras have stripes whose pattern is unique to each zebra.
Indonesia, especially the island of Java (where all of the materials are easily available including cotton, beeswax and vegetable dyes), is the area where batik has attained its greatest peak of development. Very often batik is decorated with trees, animals and hunting scenes typically using a bright red color, called chicken blood red.
The closeness of the animals in Christina’s design actually depicts the reality of the life of the zebra. They are highly social and usually form family groups made up of
a single stallion, several mares and their recent offspring. Groups are permanent and they sleep standing up, much like on her fabric design. They sleep only when other animals are around to warn them of predators, among which also include cheetahs, hyenas, crocodiles and humans. Christina’s use of the maze I believe shows that the vertical stripes of the zebra serve as a camouflage which helps the zebra hide in the grass and thus becomes effective against the zebra’s main predator, the carnivorous African lion, which is color blind, and sees only a blob in the grass if the zebra is with a herd.
Until recently batik was made only for dresses and other garments, but modern batik is used in various items such as Christina’s batik fabric painting, wall hangings and scarves which have a lively, bright pattern. I’m sure if you dig into your bureau drawer or your closet, you’d be sure to find something like mine here:
As I continue to explore the work of our THASC artists I become more amazed and excited at the diversity and complexity of their talent. Christina Gray’s fabric painting has me yearning to run to my favorite fabric shop and have this design made into a great Fall dress!