Filí ancestor of the Druid is 3 colour screenprint based on the Filí – an elite class of ancient Ireland. Filíd were the guardians of heritage, genealogy and the reputation of royal Gaelic families. The Filí was often feared and sometimes considered equal to a king. They could elevate or destroy a family name through verse and song. They could also place the Áer or Filí curse on a family.
I’ve worked on this print on and off for the last few years, and during lockdown finally finished it and wiped the silkscreen so I can’t go back to it again! Druid means “knower of Oak” and the background is a screenprint of Oak leaves, one of the noble trees of Celtic Ireland. Blue was associated with royalty so I’ve used variants of blue & silver.
I loved researching the Filí. The Filí were powerful, and merged into the role of the druids after the 5th century in Ireland when they were outlawed. They were associated with certain powerful families and believed to be poets as a birthright. They began to die out as Christianity became more widespread in Ireland and when the Anglo-Normans invaded Ireland they brought the strict teachings of the Roman church who were intent on civilising the barbaric Irish and wiping out paganism. Apparently, the English nobility was horrified to see the king eat at the same table as his poet.