"If I had to choose an artist who inspired the most poetry, it would have to be Maria Sibylla Merian," Kicak says. “She was born in 1647 and had an early affinity for fine art and naturalism, particularly insects. As women were routinely excluded from studying either, she turned to family and friends for her education. She rejected the traditional method of studying insects and insisted that they must be observed as living specimens in their natural environment.”
In 1699 Merian sold most of her belongings and took a transatlantic voyage to Dutch Surinam (now Suriname) where she worked for many years. Her intricate and vibrant drawings are some of the earliest seen in Europe and she is credited with making major contributions both to the fields of art and entomology.
"For a woman to be so passionate about her field and to take such risks in 1699—that is worthy of being recorded in poetry," Kicak says. "The NMWA had three of her original illustrations on display and the precision and intensity of color are unlike anything I had ever seen in naturalist illustrations."
To date, Kicak has eleven new poems ready for submission to journals and another ten in progress. “The grant from WLP provided me with the ability to travel, research, and create in a way I could have never done on my own. I’m excited to get these new poems out into the world and invite others to experience the joy of this artwork for themselves.”
Published on: 4/5/2019