Hard to chew. Tough to swallow.

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This painting is “Patroness Against Human Commodity”

I admit that the research on this one took a great toll on me. I have to daughters and night after night I read articles on the horrors of the sale of humans. Of girls. (I gave out A LOT of unsolicited hugs). To get myself through I turned to a woman of faith, St. Bakhita, who triumphed over her own slavery to dedicate herself to the service of God. Something that as a ‘high up on the food chain’, white woman with a great life, I am still too scared to do.

Modeled after Saint Josephine Bakhita, who was a victim of human trafficking. She became known as the ‘Black Mother’ and touched many lives with her faith. Close to her heart she wears a medal of the Blessed Mother, whom she was devoted to after her conversion.

Bakhita was not her birth name. It was a name given to her by one of her many slave owners. The name meant “lucky” or “fortunate one” and this is represented on her right. This is another abuse of mockery, perhaps, during horror as she suffered beatings, torture and sexual abuse from when she was first purchased, at the age of 8, hence the bar code on her left.

Bakhita was sold many times during her years of brutal slavery. One owner forced her through scarification and tattooing. This treatment consisted of deeply cut wounds into which salt was poured to produce permanent scarring. A total of 114 intricate patterns were cut into her breasts, belly and into her right arm.

Her halo honors her scars through the Morse Code symbols for ‘Help’-S.O.S.

Her hands support girls of many races as trafficking knows no bounds. These girls are pictured in pastel colors symbolizing youth and with traditional, pure halos and evidence ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’, due to the sad fact that there are still dark corners where the sale of women and girls is common and encouraged.

Our Lady of Self Devotion

self devotion.jpgI have had several people ask me what lead me to develop this current series of icons and what inspires my symbolism. So for the next few weeks I’ll be sharing these pieces and their notes with you. It’s been a long labor of love.

OUR LADY OF SELF DEVOTION-inspired by Mary Magdalene.

‘Body image’. What is the perfect body and why do we strive so hard to try to achieve it? I think most women who say they are happy with their physical self don’t mean it. What makes it so hard for women to love themselves as we grow and change into different stages of ourselves. At what stage did we need to start convincing ourselves that we are worthy of self-love?

It was Mary Magdalene, a woman, who went and told the twelve Apostles that Jesus had risen from the dead; for this she is called “Apostle to the Apostles.” Mary was a prostitute, considered to be the lowest caste. I used the number 7 in the lucky slot machine design because Mary is said to have suffered from 7 demons and 7 is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual), and the number 7 is the foundation of God’s word.

Her halo is 3 imperfect circles in honor of the creation in the trinity. She wears purple robes of royalty to symbolize her status among the male Apostles and she holds up her cradle of creation, which has the fierceness of teeth.

When Mary traveled to spread the Gospel, it is said she carried and egg, the symbol of creation, that would change color to red. Eggs were what helped people to understand a new theological truth—the resurrection of the dead, and a new religion—Christianity—built around the first Resurrection.

Women are of the creator and creators. WE ARE PERFECT AS WE ARE. WE HOLD TRUTH-THE TRUTH IS RENEWAL AND RESSURECTION.

 

Invulnerable

Ok, I struggled with this for WAY longer than I should have.

I was looking for the right way to explain that things are all coming together for me. The #herartforgood  project is expanding and I am now able to tie that all together with my work training women in safety and self defense practices. I found the connection.

Whether it’s my art or my safety training I can do my best to help women overcome whatever makes them feel vulnerable while overcoming my own issues. A training buddy, a friend, a sister.

It feels good to finally define purpose. I’m tactile-I have to touch to understand and express and THIS I can do. This I can be helpful with. And more importantly, WE can work together. How silly of me to not rely on all of you and ask for YOUR help as I labored through this planning. Helping EACH OTHER up the hill is the plan. Showing you my own weaknesses as I help others with theirs is part of the method and I am grateful.

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