A sense of bearing distant kinship with the extremely intelligent corvid genus threads through my work that centers on crows and ravens. In their book titled In the Company of Crows and Ravens, Tony Angell and John Marzluff posit the notion that crows and humans engage in a mutualism of existence, wherein each affects the behavior of the other. They expand on this idea of a “cultural co-evolution” between humans and crows throughout the book, and it is on this premise that I am exploring these remarkable birds.

The charcoal and ink text drawings in this series explore the reductive nature of language we ascribe to crows—the word ‘caw’ in its various spellings from bird books—and how this crude phonetic mimicry limits our ability to recognize the complexity of animal communication. The repeated words in these drawings form a visual screen that literally and metaphorically obscures our ability to clearly perceive and understand the nature of a crow.

In sum, the more I learn about these intelligent, adaptable, humorous, annoying, unpredictable, persistent, resourceful and devious birds, the more I am forced to question commonly held conceptions of the human-animal “divide.”