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Caduceus

$250.00

Print Method: Giclée
Edition: 99
Released: April 2020

Caduceus

In hard times, we look for help. It is during these difficult days that amazing people step to the fore to provide that assistance. In recent weeks, while secluded in my home, I’ve heard many tales of individuals going above and beyond to treat and care for people who are suffering. The reality is that, while these are particularly trying times, these extraordinarily dedicated and caring individuals feel that this is simply “what they do”. For all the health care workers out there who, through great personal sacrifice, spend untold hours caring for the sick and injured...this image is for you.

For cultures throughout the world, the serpent appears time and time again in ancient art. It is a symbol of transformation, rebirth and change. It represents healing and renewal of life.

While it is found in other ancient cultures, this staff, or “Caduceus”, is most often associated with Hermes, the messenger of the gods in Greek culture. In legend, he threw the staff between two fighting snakes and brought peace to them both. The imagery of two snakes coiled around the caduceus came to represent negotiation and commerce—not the medical imagery we associate it with today. Interestingly, the symbol began to be used by early book publishers who published many medical texts. The use of the caduceus on flags of truce by medics during the American civil war further contextualized it as a medical symbol. The similarity of this symbol to the rod with a single serpent held by the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius, led many institutions in North America to adopt this iconography to represent the medical field. Personally, I find it fascinating how symbols can change their meaning over time. With modern advances in health research, the similarity of the serpents to strands of DNA is simply unmistakeable so the symbol takes on renewed meaning.

In support and solidarity for healthcare workers and recognizing that my grandmother was herself a nurse in the remote village of Bella Bella during the tail end of the Spanish Influenza pandemic, $30 from each print will be donated to a scholarship fund for Indigenous students pursuing careers in the healthcare field. The money will be donated to Indspire, a Canada-wide scholarship organization, who will administer these funds to students.