Saturday, 15 December 2018


One of Weird Universe’s latest entries is a strangeness multiplier, not only introducing us to the art and underlying cosmological theories of painter and sculptor Stanisล‚aw Szukalski (*1893 – †1987), who aimed to create a whole new Polish art movement based on his mythos of Zermatism, a theory positing that human civilization can be sourced to a group of antediluvian survivors from Rapa Nui (Easter Island)—from which all of culture and language derives.
Humanity’s ongoing struggle for dominance over competitors like the Yeti and human-yeti hybrids (see also) are what characterizes humans’ uneasy, conflicted relationship with the natural world and their place in it, also bringing related cryptids into popular culture. Most of Szukalski’s work—whose fans and patrons included Leonardo DiCaprio and his father, was informed by these origin stories—but he also interested in other contemporary subjects and the celebrity culture of his adopted homeland of America—having immigrated to Chicago in the 1920s where he honed his artistic skills until deciding to return to Poland in 1934 to further develop his doctrine only to be evacuated (as a US citizenship) the next year when the country was invaded by Nazi Germany, and through this we learn the story behind that image that appears often as catch-penny marginalia: the young woman with the blue chin tattoo.
Szukalski painted a portrait from the well-circulated carte de visit of Olive Ann Oatman (*1837 - †1903). Most of the Oatman family were killed while trying to settle in Arizona territory, well outside of the area where settlement into Native American lands was already incurring. Though circumstances are unclear and Oatman’s story is uncorroborated, she was eventually raised by the Mojave and given this traditional marking—returning to her own society years later and presenting her “memoir” on the speaking circuit along the eastern seaboard of the US.  Though Oatman related her experience ultimately in a favourable light, her account was still far from an enlightened one.  Read more about Szukalsky and see more of his works plus the trailer for a biopic at the link above.