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  • Manju Sadarangani


This piece, part of the Divine Feminine series, is my tongue in cheek response to Pablo Picasso’s Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon. It is a joyful middle finger to misogyny.

Most of you are familiar with Picasso’s painting, named for a street in Barcelona, known for its brothels. The first time I saw that painting at the MoMa, it enraged me. Picasso’s descriptions of the dark-skinned women in costumes, the African and Iberian masks, his description of “savage” female sexual energy. Between the orientalism, the misogyny, the machismo, there is just so much to detest.


12” x 12”

Acrylic, Gold Leaf & Gold Dust on Canvas

(April, 2021)

The Divine Feminine series refutes the iconography of female divinity as hot consort, wish-granting indulgent mother, or angry avenging trope. Not only is this a representation of the calm meditative power of women, it’s meant to be playful.

Whether it is Desmoiselles or the uniform clad women of 1980s Robert Plant videos, women are often depicted as interchangeable commodities. I leave it up to you to decide if this is a representation of one woman in her many incarnations, or a collective of women conjuring their collective power.

This piece comes from a place of joy. Colors reminiscent of a favorite childhood treat, (Cadbury chocolate!) and the golden effervescence of celebratory champagne. Powerful lotuses transforming the murky into beauty, while laughing at the manufactured terror of women’s moon cycles. I hope this piece gives you the strength to soar above your fears, while remaining grounded and connected to your purpose.

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