2023, oil and Swarovski crystals on wood panel
25cm x 20cm
Part of Utopia|Dystopia at Beinart Gallery
Callisto was a nymph in Greek (and Roman) mythology, a follower of the goddess of the hunt and the wilderness, Artemis (Diana for the Romans). She had vowed to remain chaste but the king of the gods, Zeus (Jupiter), became infatuated with her and disguised himself as Artemis to approach Callisto. Under this ruse, Zeus seduced Callisto, leading to her pregnancy. When Artemis discovered Callisto’s pregnancy, she was outraged and banished her from the group and she wandered alone in shame and fear.
Callisto gave birth to a son named Arcas and when this news reached Zeus, he grew fond of the young boy. Hera (Juno), Zeus’s wife, infuriated by Zeus’s infidelity, discovered the existence of Arcas and decided to take her revenge by transforming Callisto into a bear. Callisto roamed the wilderness for years, living in isolation while still retaining her human consciousness.
Years later, Arcas, now a grown man and a skilled hunter, encountered the bear, unaware that it was his mother. Just as he was about to kill the Callisto with a javelin, Zeus intervened by transforming them into stars. He placed them in the night sky, creating the Ursa Major (Big Bear) and Ursa Minor (Little Bear) constellations, forever preserving the bond between mother and son.