In continued exploration of cultural perceptions of women, I am slowly making a series of little icons, painted in oils on aluminium and drawn with pen and ink. They are portraits with additional symbolic elements. American civil rights campaigner Angela Davies is shown bursting forth from the ground, a bright flower with radical roots. The petals surrounding reclusive poet, Emily Dickinson are made of her poems written on tiny scraps of envelopes, discovered in her room after her death. Given her current iconic status, you could argue there’s no need for another image of Frida Kahlo. However, while touching on her celebrated ‘look’ and style, this painting also celebrates Kahlo's love of symbolism and, in the votive offering of a baby in the top left of picture, honours her unrequited longing for a child.
In this series I am also unearthing and aiming to rehabilitate some female 'monsters'. Baba Yaga, a typical witch/crone stereotype from Russian folklore lives deep in the forest in a hut that stands on a chicken's leg. Children were warned to be good or Baba Yaga would steal them, eat them and add their bones to her garden fence. Reflecting on issues of body shaming and the prevalence of self-harm in adolescent girls and women today, it seems to me that, two millennia on, we are still paying for The Fall, which makes Eve the woman most in need of rehabilitation. Here she is in all her glorious, curious sensuality.
MEDUSA & her SISTERS
Limited ed artist book & poetry anthology
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'Entering into Natalie Sirett's world is like meeting oneself in a universe subject to completely different rules of recollection. The work is delicate and brutal, sensitive with a bite. Subsequently, one's memory of her storytelling is always full of colour.'
Libby Anson Editor, Arts Writer, Author The A to Z of Art