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Fish #213 Slender Sunfish Ranzania laevis ~ Jo O'Hara
Pencil, pencil crayon and pen on paper 42 x 29 cm
The Slender Sunfish Ranzania Laevis is found all over the world in tropical and temperate seas. It can grow up to 1 metre. The Sunfish has a slender oblong body, a pointed snout with an oval funnel-like mouth (that is always open), long pectoral fins, and smooth skin covered in tiny hexagonal scutes. From above Slender Sunfish are dark blue. They are bright and silvery on the sides and below, with variable blue, grey, brown or green stripes and spots, and a series of dark stripes curving below and behind the eye.
Large shoals occasionally strand themselves along Australia's south-west coast. They are considered poor swimmers because their fins are small and look unfit for purpose, however, they are agile and fast. Viewed from the side, underwater the Sunfish can be mistaken for a shark. This optical illusion is believed to be a way of warding off predators.
In my piece of work the Slender Sunfish is seen in collaboration with the Sun King (Louis XIV). This fish is elaborate, likened to the fashion and drapes during the reign of the Sun King. Its eyes can be likened to jewels. Like Louis the Fish can be perceived as more powerful than it is by its unique way of tricking the eyes of its predators. The use of blue not only relates to the ocean but to the way Louis XIV used colour to dazzle and overwhelm.
I have adapted the title of Pink Floyd's song hoping that the Sun Fish will continue to reign in our waters and shine on forever. Please say the words and waft them to the sea.
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