Pro Patria Mori
Pro Patria Mori and And Still You Whisper Of The War [foreground]
With Ghillie works by Matt Rowe
Colin and Helen David
Cast foam, flocking. 2 m diameter x 60 cm
The title of this piece, meaning To Die For One’s Country, is from the Wilfred Owen poem, Dulce et Decorum Est.
It comprises a circle of red antlers. Helen and Colin David often use antlers in their work. Deer are a very ancient British animal and as such symbolize some of the elusive and enduring qualities of pre-Christian folk art.
Deer are also a metaphor for soldiers; they seem brave, and almost disciplined. If you shoot a deer amid the herd the others do not react.
Stags grow massive antlers every year for the sole purpose of fighting other stags to impress the does. It’s like growing a weapon. The winning stags have several mates, but the losers have none. They fight for the right to reproduce. While growing, antlers are protected by natural velvet. The flocking on the antlers refers to this. This velvet also protects a blood supply to the antlers. When they are fully grown the deer rub off the velvet and the antlers harden. After the rutting season, the antlers fall off, as the deer no longer need them.