The Divine Feminine Series
20” x 20”
Acrylic & Silver Leaf on Canvas
Anyeh (un.yuh) means different, variant, the other. Working on the Divine Feminine series has made me examine my own internalized misogyny, my own unconscious biases. Anyeh is an effort to sit with an uncomfortable realization – very few of my preferences and choices come from a place of considered freedom.
For this piece, I leaned into my discomfort and worked with pinks, lavenders, lilacs. As I meditated on the idea of sitting with discomfort and naming my shame, I worked with black 3.0 because a) Black is where I am comfortable, and b) I am not Anish Kapoor. I wanted to take what fit. (The idea of some cis male capitalist patriarch excluding me from a color is just. Infuriating.) Anyeh is a protest in color – a desire to strip the proto-feminine of fear, to face shame, to meditate on the idea of a tabula rasa.
I have been relishing The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair, and delving into the history of color. Working from home during this pandemic has mean that a significant portion of my closet hangs there, staring woefully at me. I noticed how much something so elemental - what I wear - has to do with trying to signal to the world that they need not be suspicious, need not be threatened. How much of my life is dictated by a desire to feel safe, for the comfort of others, for acceptance? How do I judge those who transgress these unspoken gendered rules?
For example, I adore hoodies. I have to carefully consider the time of day I done a hooded sweatshirt because well, ya know. I adore wearing long flowing skirts. I don’t, because those signify a political aesthetic and privilege I cannot claim. I shy away from wearing pink mauve violet lavender, eschewing them for white and black. Because those are “serious” colors, logical hues, and I have internalized instruction asking me to appear more serious and less “girly”. My entire live-long life, family, significant others, workplaces have policed my hair, my nails, the clothes on my back, withholding rewards and meting out punishment when I transgress. My whole life, I have danced a tango – pushing the envelope with a cuff here, a streak there, a nail painted to signal that I am still alive under this armor, my spark hasn’t been entirely crushed by the rules. As you look upon this piece, know that you are not alone in your punk pink push back. I see you, and honor you.
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