Geckos and Mandarin Oranges

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Artist: Anja Nov

Geckos and Mandarin Oranges

pen and digital colour on paper

Edition of 100

20 x 16 inches

Geckos and Mandarin Oranges was conceived and created in my hometown of Pula, Croatia. It was the Fall of 2021, and mandarin oranges were in season (my family owns several large trees, which dot our garden). Back in my family home after two years away, I devoured the oranges on the terrace, visited by the geckos everyday. This piece is an homage to my hometown, but it also carries with it the symbolism of the geckos (trusting one’s instincts) and mandarin oranges (prosperity and luck) it pictures.

GeckosEublepharis macularius

When I was a kid spending summers in Croatia, my great aunt and I would hunt flies and feed them to the little lizards hiding in the balcony walls. In many cultures, geckos and wall lizards in the house bring luck and prosperity. In symbology, these little guys are powerful representatives of regeneration, adaptability, and fearlessness. With its sensitivity and sharp perception, the gecko knows that it can move out of the way of anything that doesn’t serve it. Even if a hungry cat or crow manages to catch it, it knows it can leave its tail behind and grow a new one, no problem. The gecko doesn’t hold back from where it wants to go (which is mostly to lie in the sun and eat—I can relate). It confidently moves forward, believing deeply in its own capacity to not only overcome, but to succeed.

Mandarin OrangesCitrus reticulata

I spent the whole Fall eating Mandarin oranges this year. I kept stuffing the sweet fruit in my face, trying not to waste the goodness that was growing on the trees in my yard. Mandarins, like all oranges, are symbols of the sun. Like that life-giving star, mandarins bring happiness, connection, and prosperity. Their fruit also represents fertility—the boundless opportunities we have if we sow the seed we believe in.

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