Issues surrounding women’s rights served as the inspiration for this piece called Uncovered and symbolism runs through the painting.
In numerology, the number four gives the vibration of The Stabilizer, one who can undertake difficult or unpleasant tasks, one who is a faithful friend with the capacity for focused will and self-sacrifice, and one who is aware and accepting. Four is also the number of fate so it must be remembered that there will be many things that happen over which you have no control.
Afghan Woman – Removal of her beauty and self esteem, a woman who is at risk of having acid thrown in her face.
Somali Woman – Victim of genital mutilation, symbolizing the removal of reproductive rights.
Black Slave Woman – Raped, treated as cattle and her family sold, she symbolizes the removal of protection, a distortion of relationships and intimacy.
Saudi Woman – Symbolizing the level of control that is being exercised over her, her body and her basic rights.
I found it very interesting that the clothing of oppressed women is very similar. They are usually covered from head to toe. I wanted to give insight to the fact that even though the women are covered up, they are still unprotected and exposed. Sometimes being covered represents shame, hiding, covering up scars and wounds or a way to conceal beauty.
I wanted to portray hopelessness, confusion, despair, and fear in the postures that I placed the women in. These postures are indicative of how a woman may feel when she has no protection and no rights.
The desert symbolizes a place of being destitute and barrenness. You are completely exposed to the elements, hot during the day and cold at night, because there is no shelter or refuge.
The ONE Tree
In the midst of this desert stands one tree. It should be a source of protection from the elements but it’s too small and a bit fractured. It also has no food for which they can find nourishment from this harsh environment. I used this to symbolize to show that there isn’t enough effort being made to provide what these women need in their time of despair.
This flower, even though it’s beautiful, grows in a barren place. The marigold is associated with grief, cruelty and jealousy. It’s a weed that is considered to be invasive and noxious.
The butterfly is the symbol of hope, restoration and renewal. The word metamorphosis is used to describe the life cycle process of the butterfly. It comes from ancient Greek, which means to totally change from one form to another. It also stands for hope and no matter how bad things are, change is on the horizon.
UNCOVERED by Melvin D. Nix