“The Rat King” Art by Heather Watts

The Rat King War Art / Painting by Heather Watts

The Rat King

12″ x 16″ (30cm x 41cm) Acrylic on Panel, 2011. Collection of the Artist.

This painting is part of the series “Small Heroes” which was exhibited at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, in April of 2011.


About “The Rat King”

by Heather Watts

The term “rat king” refers to a natural phenomenon supposedly recorded in Europe for hundreds of years, in which too many rats crowded together in the same living space become knotted together by their tangled tails. Joined at the center, they roam around as a single being. There’s controversy over whether real rat kings exist or are more of a semi-mythical historic urban legend.

“The Rat King” tells the story of an individual struggling to survive on the battlefields of World War I, but for me it’s more broadly about how we deal with being bound to each other as part of a larger ‘system’ when we don’t agree with a lot of how that ‘system’ operates.

The hero of this painting has the courage to stand alone and risk everything to cut himself free from the tangled mess he’s part of. It’s a difficult and dangerous thing, but the act of opposing ‘the powers that be’ when they no longer speak for what we believe in is a heroic act.


“The Rat King” Limited Edition Art Prints

A small run of limited edition prints of “The Rat King” may be released in future depending on demand. If you are interested in purchasing one please email info@heatherwatts.com.

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