In what is perhaps one the strangest art heists in history, a Canadian artist’s textile sculpture resembling a Cryptozoologist’s wet dream was stolen from a cliff top overlooking Knowledge Park Drive in Fredericton, New Brunswick on August 2nd 2012.
WhiteFeather Hunter created and then anonymously installed Alma (which means “soul” in Spanish) on the cliff top. Like many Cryptid sightings, WhiteFeather left Alma’s discovery up to pure chance.
Shortly after its installation, photos of Alma began leaking onto the internet. In the first three days Alma went viral, garnering over 5 million hits and enticing hundreds of fans to make the pilgrimage to see the sculpture in person.
Contrary to many stories published about Alma, the only association existing between Alma and anything close to crypto is one of the inspirations for the installation; “Fauns Head”, a poem by Arthur Rimbaud. A Faun is a mythological creature from Roman antiquity. Considered a forest God in Roman mythology, they are generally depicted as half goat and half man and dwell in enchanted forests.
Comprised of a number of organic parts, including but not limited to: Moose teeth, lamb skin, beaver fur, dear hoof, and human hair – the installation elicits a macabre reaction in its execution. If the visage of Alma doesn’t dial your creep factor past 11 on its own, perhaps the second inspiration for the piece will:
“When Oskar Kokoschka returned home from World War I, his beloved, Alma Mahler, had already married another. In his duress, he commissioned a doll maker to create a life-sized replica of Mahler. It was given a fur covering to replicate the softness of her skin. Kokoschka escorted his doll to the opera, held parties in its honour, and hired a maid to dress and service it. “
While we’re sure Oskar Kokoschka’s commissioned sex toy was probably more visually appealing (at least to him), Alma seems to portray the darkness inherent of Oskar’s feelings for his lost love, and perhaps some of the darkness that exists within love itself.
We’re not sure if it was for authenticities sake, or just for giggles, but that patch or fur covering Alma’s nether-regions is 100% Canadian beaver.
Some have gone as far as to compare Alma to Bigfoot, while others have given her the affectionate pet-name of “Hoofhand”. Whatever people think Alma resembles, it’s not something we’d want to stumble onto in the woods, day or night.
One individual has even gone as far as setting up an account titled “Hoofhand” to seed the idea that those who feared the installation would be haunted by Alma in their nightmares. We’d like to think Alma made good on that offer, and is stalking the countryside occupying the nightmares of children everywhere.
To see more of WhiteFeather Hunter’s artwork visit her portfolio.
Thank you to WhiteFeather Hunter for the permission to use photos from her personal portfolio, and her kind words regarding the story.
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