Rita Crabtree

The Sorrowing Spirit 

For my final project, I have chosen myths and folklore as my theme and re-created the ‘banshee’ as a character of my own design.  Folktales depict the banshee as a female spirit that warns of impending death, usually through loud, mournful wailing. Combining special effects and fine art I have produced two final pieces depicting my version of the creature. The first is a small-scale sculpture made with polymer clay and synthetic hair, highlighting the main facial features of the creature. The second is a large-scale acrylic impasto painting, set in a night time scene with the banshee perched atop a small hill looking over a quiet stream.  

The story of the banshee is told repeatedly through history and is changed every time. From the traditional story of paying a keening woman to perform a graveside lament, to the spirit who would foretell death through piercing screams. Each story opens a new viewpoint and humanizes her.  

I have taken inspiration from Montse Ribé and David Martí and their work in sculpting fantasy and horror whilst creating my SFX piece.   In fine art I have researched Gerhard Richter and Van Gogh and the techniques they use to convey shape and texture in painting.  

Through experimentation, I have learned that using various tools and changing pressure can make a range of unique impressions on the surface and that these processes and techniques can be transferred between the works.   

Although this project displays the horror of the banshee story I want to highlight the sadness of her curse. Famous for her bloodshot eyes and loud wailing I imagine the task of the banshee to be heartbreaking and incredibly lonely.