Cast bronze. 57 x 104 mm. 2001. Edition of 33

February 25, 2016

‘The word squama is a zoological term meaning scale or scale-like, referring to such plates on the skin of fishes and reptiles. Squamata is the order of reptiles that includes lizards and snakes. Although the lizard depicted on the medal is based on a British species, I see it more as an archetypal image. ‘The high relief of the reptile’s head on the obverse of the medal evokes a rock projection upon which lizards are often seen basking. As cold-blooded animals, lizards are reliant upon the sun’s heat and usually inactive during the hours of darkness. The geometric pattern of the head plates suggests both the celestial map of a desert night and the cracked surface of sun-baked earth. The centrifugal position of the eye could also read as the concentrated focus of the sun’s rays in the mid-day sky. A playful invitation to explore the reverse of the medal is provided by the tongue of the lizard as it turns a corner on the edge. The reverse depicts the hind quarters and tail of the lizard in low relief. The tail wraps around the lower rim of the medal, with the segmentation of the scales producing a tactile serrated edge. ‘Sympathy towards reptiles and awareness of their future appears far less enthusiastic than that shown towards other ecologically vulnerable species. This attitude is partly a result of bad press and partly the lowly position given to reptiles in the hierarchy of the non-human. This medal humbly sets out to redress the balance.’