Our friend and artist Kristin Tercek aka Cuddly Rigor Mortis (previously featured here) recently shared two awesome new paintings created for Gallery Nucleus’ group show Not in Kansas Anymore: A Tribute to the Wizard of Oz, which opened on Saturday March 16th and runs through April 7th, 2013.

The top painting, entitled Nikko and Toto, depicts Dorothy Gale’s canine companion in the arms of a flying monkey friend. They appear to be having a fantastic time together. The second painting, entitled Billina, is a portrait of Dorothy’s avian companion on her second trip to Oz, the Queen and subsequent Governor of the chickens of Oz.

Flying monkeys and fancy chickens. Awesomeness abounds where Cuddly Rigor Mortis is concerned.

There is a character that boldly defies gender norms in Ozma of Oz. But it’s not the boy who turned into a princess at the end of the last book. Instead, it’s a talking hen. Go figure. 

This hen goes by the name Bill. Dorothy decides to call her Billina because “the ‘eena’ makes it a girl’s name,” but the hen still prefers to call herself Bill. Bill likes to get into fights with roosters, but she also likes to lay an egg every day. 

Sweden recently added a gender-neutral pronoun to its language, and that new word is “hen.” Coincidence?

“I beg your pardon, I’m sure Mrs.–Mrs.–by the way, may I inquire your name, ma'am?” asked the little girl.

“My name is Bill,” said the yellow hen, somewhat gruffly.

“Bill! Why, that’s a boy’s name.”

“What difference does that make?”

“You’re a lady hen, aren’t you?”

“Of course. But when I was first hatched out no one could tell whether I was going to be a hen or a rooster; so the little boy at the farm where I was born called me Bill, and made a pet of me because I was the only yellow chicken in the whole brood. When I grew up, and he found that I didn’t crow and fight, as all the roosters do, he did not think to change my name, and every creature in the barn-yard, as well as the people in the house, knew me as ‘Bill.’ So Bill I’ve always been called, and Bill is my name.”

“But it’s all wrong, you know,” declared Dorothy, earnestly; “and, if you don’t mind, I shall call you 'Billina.’ Putting the 'eena’ on the end makes it a girl’s name, you see.”

“Oh, I don’t mind it in the least,” returned the yellow hen. “It doesn’t matter at all what you call me, so long as I know the name means ME.”

“Very well, Billina. MY name is Dorothy Gale–just Dorothy to my friends and Miss Gale to strangers. You may call me Dorothy, if you like. We’re getting very near the shore. Do you suppose it is too deep for me to wade the rest of the way?”


Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Stop aggressively gendering the bird, Dorothy