Lady Art

I’ve noticed a pattern. Now that I’ve noticed I can’t unnotice it, so I might as well embrace it. I like to buy art when I travel because it feels more substantial than jewelry (which I’ll lose), coffee (which I’ll drink), trinkets (which I have no use for and will eventually toss the next time I move), and clothing (which I will probably stain/shrink/rip).

Here’s my new wall hanging from Cusco:

IMG_2910You see this image everywhere in Cusco, the backs of female heads. Sometimes it’s more literal as they sit in a circle, the goings on of which we are not privy to, sometimes it’s more abstract, like my pattern. They’re backs are to us, because what they’re doing is not for us, the viewer, the outsider; it’s for themselves. They call it “la chismosa,” which means “the gossiping.” I loved it immediately.

So I bring this thing home and start looking for a place to hang it, and that’s when I notice this…

IMG_2909And this

IMG_2908And this

IMG_2907And this

IMG_2906The vast, vast majority of my art is depictions of women. I’m fascinated by the ways that different cultures and communities and artists choose to represent them (One of the many reason I use the Rosie icon for this blog). Have you ever seen that stat about how much of the art in major museums is by women (very little), how much of it is of women (a bit more) and how many of the naked people are ladies (a whopping 85%).

Not all of my art is created by women (though much of it is), but the common thread (if you can find one besides gender of the subjects) is that I like images of women that push back on the idea that they are objects against which someone else can project intent (lust, desire, protection, etc). La Chismosa is amazing because it’s such a desexualized (without being ungendered) way to portray women as having relationships completely separate from their interaction with men.

The flapper, the “garden buddha,” the image of Radha and Krishna (bought in Chennai, India), there’s a self-contained agency about these women. They are not waiting for the actions or reactions of anyone else. I didn’t pick them for that reason on purpose, but when they’re all lined up, it seems so obvious.

Now that I’ve noticed it, I should probably stick with the trend, don’t you think? Where to next, and what should I bring back?

Related Post: The bent over cartoon character that ruined my Sunday

Related Post: Art for your Saturday night

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Filed under Art, Gender

3 responses to “Lady Art

  1. nice pieces of art and i have been doing the same thing for the last few years, when i look at the art i am transported back to the place i visited -

  2. Ouf. So I’m going to be an utter bummer and say — With La Chimosa, my first thought was Arendt’s explanation of the “oikos” (greek household) as an apolitical space of labor and bondage in “The Human Condition.” Their backs are to us because they have no “face.” Likewise, you could argue a Spivak reading asserting that these women are the Subaltern. For some silver lining, I’d add — Why in the hell would the Subaltern wish to speak to their “masters?” Their masters aren’t so relevant and soon to be obsolete; just look at them planning a revolution in a foreign tongue! Still, there’s a politics to this. It even links overtly with your personal/political post on Re/boot. (sp?)

  3. Pingback: 10 Days in Chile: A Not Remotely Exhaustive Gallery of Valparaiso Murals | rosiesaysblog

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