Femella was Born

Cathara (above) gave birth to the collection titled Femella. This first painting was inspired by the frequently addressed topic of middlescence. Increasing attention given to this subject has enabled women to explore and expose the layers of complex emotions that are experienced in this phase of life. It often coincides with their offspring reaching adolescence. These two milestones are not too dissimilar. Both experience an internal biological change which is mirrored by the shift felt externally. In relation to middle aged women, they find themselves in a new space, within their family as well as in society. They can begin to enjoy their new found freedom whilst they mourn the loss of being needed by their offspring. They are also able to explore the world again but first they need to discover who they are. Whilst they are excited about this new venture, they are also faced with the reality that they have not armed themselves with the necessary skills because their focus was elsewhere, all consuming and now they feel displaced. However, women are strong and adapt to change and this collection celebrates this.

Cathara screams out in frustration. She wants to fly away and experience the freedom she had as her former younger self but the weight of the anvil and the commitment of wearing the ankle ring keep her firmly in her place. So she dances.

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(clockwise: Domicia, Lethola, Bellisle, Sudoria, Eleutha, Oscillaria)

Domicia is moulded and embodied into the structure of the house which she physically supports so that her boomerang children may return whenever they need. She is ironically part of the furniture but her door is always open. Lethola does not know whether she is coming or going and wishes to find a way to dispel the fog that disorientates her. The sea is vertical, the stripes on the carpet suddenly stop and the pattern on the wall paper sways but she holds the vacuum cleaner firmly in her right hand. Bellisle escapes through a dream where she lives freely and harmoniously in the clouds while she listens to melodies. She creates an island of paradise by drawing a boundary around herself that will strengthen her self-preservation. The hot sweats flow over Sudoria and also through her leaky tap while she patiently sits out another hot and cold flush. She basks in the warmth of the sunshine on her back but also enjoys the cooling of the rain. Eleutha joyfully bounces up and down on her ovary pogo stick. She beams rays of happiness and whistles bubbles that float all around her. Mood swings take over Oscillaria as she goes back and forth from the sunshine into the darkness. The buds are a hint of spring and the butterflies have all metamorphosed as they flutter around her giving her hope of her own imminent rebirth.

This collection is bright, bold and colourful. The paintings reveal familiarity in their domestic settings and share recognisable elements and symbolism. Whilst they deal with frustration and uncertainty, they offer different joyful approaches to the inevitable stumbling blocks of life. Each woman possesses desire and hope. She holds her head high and wears a stoic disguise to hide her vulnerability and naked voluptuousness.

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