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Betta smaragdina as Totem by Ravenari Betta smaragdina as Totem by Ravenari
Also known as the Emerald Green or Blue Betta. Male is shown.


Honestly, I had a lot of complicated feelings doing this series of Bettas. It mostly drew my attention to the awfulness of the pet trade, that linebreeding for aggression has produced a lot of beautiful but overly aggressive pet fish that rarely live out their full lifespans in distress, even when they are kept in large tanks. Looking at the original species, instead of the B. splendens line (which, imho, is the pug/bulldog/boston terrier of the fish trade -> overbred, partly destroyed, beauty-over-temperament, aggression-over-soundness), highlighted how few people know these beautiful species exist, and those who do are often exploiting them for the aquarium trade. Many are declining in their original populations, or even Critically Endangered, exposed to population, exploited.

They are known as 'fighting fish' but in the wild many will live together and coexist with enough room to maintain territories. They are paternally nurturing. They are capable of more intimacy than some other species of fish and they are shy and easily intimidated by larger fish (one of the main reasons 'wild-type' Bettas can't actually be housed with some other species is because they are harrassed and then refuse to breed).

Spending time with these beautiful, but misunderstood energies has been a disturbing, enlightening process. These are vastly misunderstood animals, that are in their natural state, not inclined to fight to the death, and prefer to keep to themselves, in their own territory. They are shy, easily intimidated, and prefer dark places. For most people, the Betta that you have been raised to understand, is not the Betta you'll find in nature.

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Keywords:

Bubble magic. Murk magic. Exploitation. Powerlessness. Vulnerability. Paternal instincts. Misunderstandings. People don’t know who you are. Assumptions and first impressions. Different manifestations of masculinity. Exploited beauty. Aggression and powerlessness. Exploitation. Confinement. Small spaces. Adaptation. Integration. Filling every niche. Every place has purpose. Guardian of decomposition and decay. Dark energies. Grounding your emotions. Shyness and intimidation. Needing a place that is only yours. Understanding the necessity of the labyrinth. Flashes of insight. Intimacy. Needing a certain social order. Hierarchy and authority.

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Watercolour pencil / pencil / ink / metallic and iridescent acrylic -> Crescent cold-pressed illustration board ->  18.5 x 20.5 cm (or 7.2 x 8 in).

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:iconshyll-j:
Shyll-j Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
Just by luck did I discover your art, and I must say after browsing a bit I am a FAN! 
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:iconravenroseserpent:
Ravenroseserpent Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2019  Student General Artist
Woah nice to know about these Betta fishes and love to know that wild ones or the original ones don't really right much

as I much love the colours of the fish I just get so sad seeing them in small tanks and been on their own while the others fishes do others living together

love this beautiful one is amazing the different colour their gets 
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah I feel sad about the ones in small tanks too, thankfully people are getting better educated about them and are realising they at least need a decent environment to live in!
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:iconmargot87:
Margot87 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2019
I love these few fish that you drew in this series, the drawings are utterly beautiful. At the same time thanks for giving it some deeper thought and writing the description. I agree, that's really sad... We have one Betta fish at home right now – my brother decided to go for it because he's autistic, he's afraid of dogs and I think any "furry" animal would be too much of a responsibility for him, considering that the fish is now partially taken care of by our mum... Anyway, we called it Asterix because we like this character but also because we thought: ok, so it's supposed to be a warrior (in Polish the name of this fish species which is "bojownik" is very similar to the warrior: "wojownik"). And we were always told that this kind of fish shouldn't be kept in a group because eventually they would attack each other. It's very sad what you have written down here; I had no idea that fish inbreeding has gone as deep as for example battle dogs breeding. Anyway, we try to give much love to our little fish. Thanks for sharing.
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, the reason the pet ones can't be kept together in tanks is because they have been bred to experience so much aggression they can no longer live normal lives as they would in the wild, which is a shame, but most people don't know this (even I thought the ones in the wild fought as much as the ones that are kept as pets, but it turns out through incestuous linebreeding, this was forced into them so that they could have fish fights for entertainment, in the same way that people do dog fighting).

The main thing once you already have one, is to just give it love as you would any pet, and it sounds like you all do. That's all that matters <3
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:iconrosiecrafts:
rosiecrafts Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2019  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
beautiful design and colors!Fish 
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconfurea-flight:
Furea-Flight Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your description of this work taught me a lot about these fish, and this artwork is incredible! Thank you for sharing
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I learned a lot too, I was sort of vaguely aware of the trade, but I had no idea that the aggression was bred into them, and that males in the wild very rarely fight to the death - or even fight at all.
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:iconmorphofan:
MorphoFan Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
Beautiful work.
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much
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:iconprotogril:
protogril Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
Wow so beautiful❤❤👍👍
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
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:iconprotogril:
protogril Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2019
Your welcome 😊
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:iconlethal-woman:
Lethal-Woman Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
Your a brilliant artist. Love your work. This is lovely

Fantastic by poisen2014
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much!
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:iconlethal-woman:
Lethal-Woman Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
You are more then welcome 👌
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:icondoll-ladi:
Doll-Ladi Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
Colors are beautiful! 💓
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:iconravenari:
Ravenari Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:icondoll-ladi:
Doll-Ladi Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019
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:iconravenheart1984:
RavenHeart1984 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Betta Fish 3 Betta Fish 2 Fish 3beautifulFish 3 Betta Fish 2 Betta Fish 3  
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Submitted on
March 6
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