Walrus Woman by Hagop Belian

ART TODAY 07.15.17: “Walrus Woman” by Hagop Belian

Walrus Woman is Wisdom

Walrus Woman serves as the keeper of wisdom. She teaches the importance of connection and that every individual serves a unique and divine purpose. Walruses live in large herds and are dependent on the group for survival. She is an African tribe leader wearing a walrus skull to demonstrate her strength and ability to survive.

medium: Mixed-media collage, wheatpaste, Sumi ink on plaster, burlap and wood

It was the profile of an African woman. A shawl covered her but exposed the underside of her breast. Her cornrowed hair was gathered into a small bun. Full lips peeked out from under the mask of a walrus skull that wrapped around her head and almost became her – where her nose should have been was a long, sloping tusk. “Walrus Woman,” as Hagop calls her, seemed so out of place on the bustling street. She drew me into another world as I admired her, yet next to her, a mint green bike tethered to a street sign reminded me that I still stood squarely in Venice.


As just a random passerby, I could have admired “Walrus Woman” for all that she is on the surface – a being from an alternate reality, a person of an aristocratic “race,” as Hagop describes it. Knowing the history with which she is literally created from and understanding the artist’s purpose of breaking norms and embracing acceptance, however, leaves me thinking that perhaps the surreal is powerful only because it is grounded in reality. That which seems so alien at first is a reflection of our society after all.

For more, visit Hagop’s website at madeofhagop.com

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