How did I come to create the artwork?
Since entering perimenopause and my cronedom at 50, I’ve been stricken by the spirit and energy of the Medusa. As a woman who came to Feminism later on in life, post divorce and the bursting of the Patriarchal bubble, I am passionate about women embracing their righteous rage. The Medusa mythology for me, gives this energy a very clear image and symbol. I also have a very special affinity with the work of Frida Kahlo and a deep empathy for the woman Frida Kahlo, her special combination of vulnerability and strength speaking strongly about womanhood. I’ve created clothing with images of Medusa and Frida Kahlo separately, but until this image, I had never thought to put them together. It was when I encountered a video of an interview with Eartha Kitt where she was asked about compromising in relationships, that I was inspired to combine the two images. I saw in Eartha Kitt’s irreverent and sarcastic response , a woman fully engaged in her rage; a fearless woman who knew her worth. To her it was ridiculous that a man should ask her to compromise herself for a man in order to be in a relationship. She threw her head back in a throaty, theatrical laugh to mock the male interviewer when he asked her about compromising herself in order to be loved. She then came back with the response: Stupid!
I saw how dangerous this woman was to the system. That this woman in her full state of humanness had become a warrior, able to rise above her conditioning and see the controlling game play of men and women under Patriarchy. It thrilled me, I got goosebumps. I saw, for the first time, the possibility of a future where women could live free as fully human. I saw a woman who loved herself fully, which under Patriarchy is a subversive act. I came up with two statements:
A woman who loves herself is a dangerous woman.
Sisterhood is Subversive.
I then embroidered these two political statements around the image of the Medusa Frida. I then created a theatrical Empress style kimono with full length sleeves so that when I wore it I would be reminded of my status as a human being and not to be submissive. Whenever I wear it, I hope to make women behind me wonder what I mean by the statements on my back. I invite debate and discussion. For me it is my personal political quest.