At its heart, this wordless story by an Iranian artist centres around a little boy’s imagination. It was inspired by a memory of Tahvili’s husband, who liked to draw chalk eagles on the rooftop of his childhood home and who also dreamt of flying.
The boy in this story has similar passions, both for eagles and drawing. Together with his friend the cat, he watches a real eagle fly past his bedroom window, then heads up to the rooftop to draw, in chalk, an eagle of his own.
Almost immediately the drawn eagle comes to life and lifts off into the air. Initially it tries to take its creator with it, but the boy is too heavy, too ‘real’. So the child draws a chalk image of himself, and this alter ego clambers onto the eagle’s back.
Together they soar above the ocean, across snow-covered mountain tops, and over a vast city skyscape. When at last the game is over and the chalk eagle ‘lands’, it’s time for bed. All that remains is for the weary boy and his cat companion to climb back into his bedroom.
Nazli Tahvili’s vivid silkscreen illustrations are made in varying shades of blue, green and white, and in a variety of textures. She says her inspiration for the colours came from the environment that surrounds her studio in her native Iran, which has expansive blue sky and rich green rice fields.
This story of flying, with all its connotations of freedom, discovery and adventure, is almost certainly a dream shared with many children across the world. It’s sure to strike a chord with all those whose imaginations long to soar above the everyday.