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Portico Arts

Harbinger of Famine

Harbinger of Famine

I grew up in the southern states where (at the time) cotton and tobacco were king and queen. Both killed slowly, either by eating away at the nutrients of the soil or eating away at the body. Famine kills in inches at a time.

A note about some of the symbolism:
  • The bird with the flower is a cowbird.  The Brown-headed Cowbird is a stocky blackbird with a fascinating approach to raising its young. Females forgo building nests and instead put all their energy into producing eggs, sometimes more than three dozen a summer. These they lay in the nests of other birds, abandoning their young to foster parents, usually at the expense of at least some of the host’s own chicks.
  • The flower is a potato blossom.  When potatoes are ready for harvesting, they will sometimes be blossoms to indicate that.  The field is cotton, not potatoes.  There is no longer an indicator of food present.
  • Crows :  "Food for crows" is a phrase for death.

This is one of four pieces in a series, along with Harbinger of WarHarbinger of Pestilenceand Harbinger of Death.

Discontinued / sold out, but this piece is available for licensing.

"Famine was quite deliberately employed as an instrument of national policy, as the last means of breaking the resistance of the peasantry to the new system where they are divorced from personal ownership of the land and obligated to work."

- William Henry Chamberlin

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