Our Romantic Masterpiece by Lana Charara 2017, Photoshop/Print.
…because society’s to blame for this.
In our society, and I’m sure this is also the case for many other cultures, we look at abuse through rose-colored glasses and call it sacrifice. Throughout the ages, societies have romanticized abuse, and turned the female into an idolized sacrificial icon. That’s what we perceive our women to be: icons, outcomes, and creations etched and molded to become an ideal cast of what generations of cultures always conditioned them to be.
The man in the picture, who is he? Is he the groom? If so, then he’s either marrying his creation or a masterpiece he commisioned from a family-owned business who accurately carved the artwork to suit his preferred taste; he’s marrying an ideal commodity in the form of a female. But what if he’s just the bride’s makeup artist, or just an artist finishing his piece? If so, then he’s a representative of society and he’s ‘bettering’ this artwork in accordance with the contemporary aesthetic of how a female ought to be.
Other than the lipstick that’s still being applied, the only other coloration on this sculpture are 2 purple bruises, one on the arm covered by the veil and another more shameless one around the eye. Why? Why did I choose to have bruises and makeup be the only form of coloring applied to this sculpture? Well, to go back to my earlier point, society romantically overlooks, if not glorifies, abuse as sacrifice. What decorates this female are her ‘marks of selfless sacrifice;’ they’re what make her ideal and beautiful.
And just as many humans view nature as a commodity, existing for humanity’s merciless exploitation, someone thought it’d be a great idea to waste a good tree for this useless garbage.
What’s the setting though? Because it seems to be quite fancy. The setting’s the ‘Otel’ or the ‘Sahra’ where the second part of the two-part wedding ceremony takes place, and where only a selected number of important or close guests get invited to attend. But our figure(s) are off somewhere in a more private corner, probably just applying final touches before the female centerpiece is showcased.
But…did something…was there an accident that happened sometime during this piece’s carving stage? Because…there’s something red gushing from its cavity…come to think of it this ‘masterpiece’ seems rushed. That could explain the artist’s sparing and random choice of coloring, and why her bottom half isn’t even finished! ‘Artists’, am I right? What we call lazy they proclaim ‘expressive’.
Hang on a second, though, I think I’m losing my train of thought. What was I talking about?
This was a piece worked on for an Art competition tackling the issue of Violence Against Women titled Violence Against Women: Whose’s problem is it? Organized by The Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World in coordination with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia ESCWA. I won the 5th runner up.
Artist’s rant about her experience concerning this event:
~’You need to be able to tell what the work is about just by looking at it‘ One person said. I replied ‘I have a BA in Fine Arts, and what we’re trained to do is find clues to interpret the artwork‘~
Honestly I was somewhat taken aback when, during and not before the event, I was told that this piece was ‘confusing’ and that its meaning was hard to interpret, that it was ‘all over the place’. Granted I did not title this work during its submission process and before the actual event but we weren’t asked to give any details of the work itself, and when I was told I was a finalist all they asked for was my name, age and nationality; I figured every finalist would get their chance to explain their work but Alas that wasn’t the case 😦 .
Moreover if I was asked for an explanation surely I would’ve complied! Forgive my iffy-ness 😉 but I doubt any Artist would be happy to find out, during the event, that the respectful jurors of an art competition, who are also members of a course/program offered by a higher level education institution like the Lebanese American University seemingly settled for effortless confusion 😉 . If the artist’s intent was so lost to them they should’ve been able to come out with at least an interpretation?
But I digress… I guess I can take its ambiguity and mystery as critiques’ flattery 😉
For those who know me, find this work familiar or have kindly looked through my website 😉 Yes this picture is an edit of an older piece I made in 2016!
Why? Well because I found out about the competition around a week before its submission deadline, so I didn’t really have enough time to properly and artistically make something as meaningful as this from scratch. You can find the older version of this picture and its context here: Mansfield Park; Folio Society Competition