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Vatéa and the Whale.. a story

Posted by Elizabeth Johnston on
Vatéa and the Whale.. a story

Is there a more beautiful dream then swimming with a whale?

I know when I have such a dream I wake feeling positive, with a sense of peace and tranquillity, and a knowledge that everything will be ok.

Whales traditionally symbolize wisdom, spiritual awareness and long-lasting love. For Our Small World Vatea Baby range, a toddler is illustrated peacefully swimming with whales, as if in a dreamy, watery womb.

The inspiration comes from an experience I had as a child holidaying with my family at Cabarita Beach, on the far north coast of New South Wales.  As an eight or nine year old, I recall sitting on the beach with my mother and looking out to sea.  She told me that as a child, she would sit in this same place with her brothers watching the whales migrating up the coast.  As a child, we never saw whales and I asked why. She explained, whales had been hunted almost to extinction in the region, which was true as whaling was conducted for eight years from 1954 to 1962 in Byron Bay.  The experience of loss I experienced was quite profound, to think that a previous generation had allowed this to happen and deprive a future generation of such a beautiful experience.

Thankfully, we all know in Australia that the incredible experience of seeing whales migrate has returned for our own children. Today, my own children regularly experience the joy and delight of seeing whales in their natural habitat off the coast of Australia. 

The whale is a symbol of love, peace and positivity. It carries the hope that environmental damage that occurs during one generation may be repaired for the future generation. 

For me, the whale is a symbol of hope for mothers, that the world their children create, will be better than the world they’ve been born into, from one generation to the next, growing in wisdom and using technology for the betterment of humanity.

The illustration was created by Shanghai-based artist, Gen. I spotted a similar image she had created and commissioned her to create a unique image for Vatea that would capture strength, hope and tranquillity with the whale and child as the main focus.

Gen is a member of the Chinese Artist Association, a lecturer in Fine Arts of Guangxi Arts Institute, an engraver and illustrator. She explains her motivation for, “I started my career as a professional comics illustrator in 1998. It is love that has led me to the world of artistic creation. In my opinion, papers, hands and images can manage very interesting expression desires… When I feel subtle sentiments, sad or happy, I hope I can use images to illustrate the common feeling about beauty”.


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