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© Elaine Newington Ward                            www.elainenewingtonward.com                  contact -enw@elainenewingtonward.com


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ARTIST’S STATEMENT, LOST IN TRANSLATION

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This installation was inspired by the Irrespectiv exhibition of Kendall Geers 2007. His stance against the pre-democratic government of South Africa is here matched by an aversion to the influence of some world religions on the historical and continuing treatment of women.


Whose God has been with women over the centuries? At different times they have been blamed for all the sin of the world, stoned to death for failing to live up to a code of behaviour devised for the benefit of men, been beaten as wives and daughters, treated as chattels and domestic slaves, written off as the collateral damage of male conflicts, traded as marriageable items, raped ,and inseminated to eliminate infidels, heathens, gentiles et al.


This installation highlights some of these iniquities; whose God is with the woman in the painting? Was she beaten, raped or ignored? What was her crime?


Du’a Kalil Aswad, who stayed out all night, was the inspiration for the mobile sculpture. She was stoned to death in April last year. The three aggressive figures represent all who have ever stoned in the name of religions. The central victim, over centuries, may have been an alleged adulterer, prostitute, or witch, she may have heard voices or seen visions  or claimed insemination by an alien, in matters not. She was ill-used.


Impossible rules imposed by generations of religious leaders have enslaved women, many of whom have been castigated for not living up to an idealised or idolised Madonna figure. The triptych highlights this ideal in which women are set up to fail.


The truth is revealed as the perfect Lippi Madonna is stoned and gradually changes to Picasso’s Weeping Woman. However, it is the mirror lying broken on the floor which reminds us that the ‘truth’, as we see, it is a reflection of ourselves.


This theme is repeated in the Reliquary where the story told by the metamorphosing hands is invented by the viewer - a religious experience or a reflection of the observer’s mind?


The Pink Stones offer themselves for throwing but their pinkness is now associated with helping women and kindness. They cannot be thrown.


The Stained Glass Window associates peace and calm with a random list of massacres. The ‘forked-tongue’ of religious text and teachings is questioned. Millions of lives have been destroyed or devastated by religious massacres, none of which, as far as the artist can find, was conceived or perpetuated by women.

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