Alba Spina




Alba Spina
Xwaaqw’um XII
oil on birch panel, 48″ x 24″

Alba Spina, “White Thorn”, is an ancient name for the Hawthorn (Crataegus Oxyacantha), which was used extensively in Europe as a hedgerow tree to demarcate the farmers’ fields. Due to their vitalitly, their multiple trunks, dense branching habit and sharp thorns, once planted in a row, Hawthorns quickly become established to form a barrier, impenetrable for man and beast.

In England, most of these hedges have been torn out as small farmlands amalgamated over the last century, which has been devastating for the insects, birds and other small mammals whose larder and habitat they were.

In Gaelic lore, the Hawthorn is regarded as a sacred tree, an emblem of hope and a source of medecine to strengthen the heart. In Ireland, they were often planted beside wells considered to be holy, and were associated with faeries and the entrance to the “otherworld”. On Salt Spring, the Hawthorn was planted by European settlers between the fields in what is now Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park, and has provided me with inspiration for many of my paintings.

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