Tell me about that painting! – Am I Still a Woman?
- What does it mean?
- What was the story behind it?
- Why were you compelled to make it?
- How long did it take you?
I find that when people are drawn to artwork, these are just some of the questions that are going through their heads. Something catches their eye and keeps them exploring.
Since I too am asked these questions, I’ve decided to create blog posts to explain what my work is about and what compelled me to create it. My goal is to bring more meaning, understanding and appreciation for each piece. I also hope it helps ignite curiosity and enthusiasm in you, my reader.
Today, my ‘Tell me about that painting!’ I’m going to discuss is:
Am I Still a Woman?, Acrylic on canvas, 48×60, 2012 it’s the story of a woman who had cancer; beat it; but lost parts of her body as well as part of her identity in the process. The Question of ‘life after cancer’ is real for her. Though I never have had cancer, I’ve seen enough of people go through it to embrace their fears and feel their trepidation of what is life going to be like afterward. The colors I chose for this piece represent what she may have been feeling when being told by her doctor, ‘you have cancer.’ She went through the surgeries and chemo and now is left with scars and a few less body parts that previously defined her womanhood.
She has rid the cancer from her body, but at a price. She no longer has her breast or her uterus and fallopian tubes. As she is walking forward in life and trying to see the future for herself. Her body is scarred by stitches across her breast and her abdomen. The red by the stitches represent not only her bleeding from the physical changes but of what her definition of who she is as a woman. Under foot are two clear boxes, which represent caskets. In one is her breast and in the other is her fallopian tubes and uterus. She looks to the side, not wanting to truly face her emotional pain. She wants to believe she is more than her physical appearance or a vessel for a fetus. In the background on the left side are the words not easily visible Am I Still a Woman? she asks herself that not sure if she is ready to answer. And not sure if society will still consider her whole.
Though this piece may seem quite morbid, I find it uplifting. I find that since she is still walking forward in life she is going to be ok. Her posture is straight and her chin is up. It’s ok that she is questions and mourning her body. After mourning comes healing. She will be able to answer her question and feel whole again. I have no doubt.
I’ve always enjoyed painting strong women or women seeking clarity on a physical or spiritual realm. I appreciate women who dare greatly and even if they fail, they’ve achieved by attempting what’s scary to them.
This piece was part of an exhibition called Beauty Imperfect from 2012 promoting women’s health and breast cancer awareness and survival. You can find it and other pieces from my Beauty Imperfect collection.
If you like to purchase the original or print of this piece please click here.
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