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Meet Kathlyn Avila’s Zelda

Legends of Zelda by Kathlyn Avila, winner of the Monkith Saaid Memorial Sculpture Award for Best in Show.
Legends of Zelda by Kathlyn Avila, winner of the Monkith Saaid Memorial Sculpture Award for Best in Show.

Artist Kathlyn Avila needs no introduction: you’ve read about her influences and process and about her characters and figures in past posts.

Her latest creation, however, could use one. With goat horns and a friendly smile, Legends of Zelda won the Monkith Saaid Memorial Sculpture Award in this month’s sculpture-only exhibit, “Taking Shape.” We asked the artist to get us acquainted.

Love Kathlyn’s sculptures? Check out her two classes starting in September.

Who is Zelda?
Kathlyn Avila: Zelda is my interpretation of an African fairy. I chose the name Zelda because one of its origins means “blessed” or “happy.” Most African fairies are known for their benevolence. There are many stories of these fairies that have helped families, children, and hunters. The legend of these fairies are that they provide magic and give spiritual knowledge to people.

Sculptures by Kathlyn Avila from her December 2015 exhibit, "No Ordinary Woman."
Sculptures by Kathlyn Avila from her December 2015 exhibit, “No Ordinary Woman.”

What was your goal?
My goal in sculpting this figure was to creatively translate the magical and mystical essence of the mythological beings known as African fairies into a ceramic form. The forests and jungles of West Africa are said to be inhabited by a multitude of fairies and gnomes, most of which are known for their benevolence. The surface of my sculpture is adorned with animal patterns, leaves, and textiles design prints that are indicative of West Africa.

Legends of Zelda (detail) by Kathlyn Avila
Legends of Zelda (detail) by Kathlyn Avila

What was the inspiration for the horns?
The horns on “Zelda” are goat horns which have numerous symbolic meanings. My use of the horns represent power and strength.

The horns were also used as a drinking vessel in antiquity and has a dual meaning symbolically that is both masculine and feminine. This dual symbolism, therefore, is representative of the yin/yang energy. “Zelda” embraces all with equal caring and balance.

“Taking Shape” is on view through Sunday, September 4.

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