“Here Be Dragons”
Throughout human history, imagined monsters have been the repository of every culture’s greatest hopes and deepest fears. “Here be Dragons” comes from the phrase which is famously (but apocryphally) attributed to Medieval and Renaissance cartography, in which areas that were little known by the West were filled with fantastical monsters representing the terror and the sublime of the unknown, and labelled “HC SVNT DRACONES”. The ambient sense of anxiety is as tangible now as it was during the Age of Exploration; but the monsters no longer look as we once imagined.
In this age of mass extinctions and climate change, the importance of being able to envision places we may never personally see, to hold space for them in our minds and in our hearts, is ever greater. To this end, Jan’s work seeks to stretch the boundaries of our collective imaginings in order to encompass the unseen, to learn to love the unknown as well as the familiar, and ultimately to strive to weave all these strands into a larger narrative about what it means to be a human living in a world roiling with turmoil and catastrophe but yet which is still mysterious and beautiful.