The /Xam in South Africa believed in the powers of their shamans to transcend their physical form, to change to a selected form of a buck, gazelle or a bird in trance. Other interpretations have theorized that these figures are death spirits, or an early race of peoples, but largely it is accepted that these are some form of shamanic rite. The shamans would wear masks and feathers or skin to assist them in their transformation and would dance . The pose is representative of a winged alite in a cave painting in KwaZulu Natal created over two thousand years ago. Transformative beliefs are a cornerstone of the history of winged figures in archaeology.
This painting will be available for sale at my exhibition Divine Agencies opening in November 2014