The idea for this project began about a year ago, when I painted my friend Olya. She has been a source of encouragement to me when I was in unhealthy relationships. I had never before experienced a friendship like this: one that was loving and supportive. Olya was an unexpected gift. She gave me her friendship, advice and support when I had no one else in my life and a deep desire for self-improvement.
That’s why this friendship has been so enlightening for me. I began to examine the concept of womanhood, and at the same time I started feeling more sympathy for women who have been subjected to violence. Despite the general rise in violence across the world, I have chosen to focus on violence against women and at the same time their friendships with one another.
So world of women starts to open up to me, I saw how they support and inspire each other. I met a great number of girls brave and strong. I got the opportunity to meet women who are brave enough to speak their mind, say no to what they don’t like and tell all about it.
Seeing a lot of injustice in the world in general and in regard of woman in particular I decided to reflect this series of paintings called “Les jeux des femmes” which means “Games of girls”.
In this works I use pictorial violence to reflect violence toward women. I use lively, inflected strokes that enter the interior of the body rather than imply outline contours, thick paint and pieces of rag to reflect violence toward woman. The simplicity of paintings suggest her beauty.
I believe that the issues around the representation of women are more important than ever. To make change, we have to be able to talk about it openly and honestly—to do so will require sensitivity, understanding and forgiveness on everyone’s part. It is through this process that we can look at ourselves honestly and with compassion. The series is very personal to me in that I use my best friend as a model for most of the paintings. This project is also very symbolic in nature as its aim is to raise awareness of global inequalities between men and women.
Can you see her?
There she is: sitting on the couch, legs crossed. Maybe she’s watching Netflix, maybe she’s reading a book, maybe she’s just zoning out and thinking about nothing at all. But here and there, little flames are rising up from behind her—just as they do to so many women every day. The flames represent the struggle of women everywhere—the struggle for equal pay, for respect in the workplace, for safety in public spaces. They represent everything that women go through every day so that we don’t have to. They represent our strength.
Can you see those little flames?