Reina Sofía Museum and Whitworth Gallery appoint new directors
June 5, 2023
Picasso portrait sells for €3.4m at Van Ham, a house record
June 5, 2023



Endless Forest: Mary Maka Digitally Illustrates Otherworldly Woodland Creatures to Tame Fears

June 6, 2023

Grace Ebert

A pink horse bends its head back with a viney flower winding around its torso

All images © Mary Maka, shared with permission

Inspired by the short stories of the late Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola, Mary Maka illustrates woodland creatures with fantastical characteristics as part of her Endless Forest series. The Portugal-based artist has always been interested in mythology and nature, and after reading Tutuola’s works, she decided to render spirited animals that could plausibly emerge from the pages of his books.

Often hybrid in form, the beasts are based on unique fears. “Hunters gave names to the phenomena and creatures that were most frightening,” Maka says. “By giving them a name and endowing them with human qualities, the fear became less intense. Spirits that had names could now be allies and help in hunting and gathering.” This sentiment grounds her work as she translates each fear into vibrant colors, grainy textures, and playfully exaggerated features, which she hopes ameliorates panic and worry.

The digitally illustrated series began as an animation that is currently in progress. Keep an eye out for that, along with an upcoming poster release, on Behance and Instagram.

A red fox appears to skate on rollerskates with a bird on its back against a green backdrop

A pink rabbit with elongated ears makes an O with its mouth in the middle of two flower pots

A purple bear bears its teeth with two pink trees nearby

Four illustrations of hybrid animals, each making a menacing face

A red creature climbs a purple tree with a large bushy tail with a white tip

A grid of 28 creatures in the series

A panda like creature walks along amid massive flowers


Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!

First appeared on…

Comments are closed.