'Soul Mates'  

Seahorses have been impressed in the folklore of almost every coastal region in the world, from the origins of Greek & Roman mythology where seahorses guided the chariots of Neptune and Poseidon, to being an ancient symbol of divine love, confidence and grace. In the early days of sailing ships, seahorses were tattooed on the arms of sailors to protect them from drowning at sea and they have long been coveted in traditional Chinese medicine for their

aphrodisiacal and healing properties.

Seahorses dwell in the seagrass meadows and mangroves of coastal waters, with some species found on the outer reefs. Fossil records show they have been on the planet for the past 50 million years; quite a feat for this unusual fish that not only remains monogamous in their relationship, but is also slow to find a new mate should theirs disappear. The most unique characteristic of the seahorse family is that the male becomes pregnant during a beautiful mating ritual that takes place over 3 mornings during the full moon. He will deliver the little ponies several weeks later, and then relinquish himself of all parental duties.
In painting Soul Mates, the seahorses were portraying the art of balance within a relationship. In facing each other, not only did their bodies take the shape of a heart, but also created a dynamic interaction, where if one appeared dominant or protective and the other submissive or defiant, then the balance would be lost. To be in neutral wholeness, each became responsible for their role within the relationship and to allowed the other to do theirs, as is noted by the male grounding them both in the physical world by anchoring them to the blade of seagrass, and the female embracing his tail, affectionately unifying them in love.

                                                                                                                Kimberley Payard

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