In semi lock down….
“Margaret Atwood describes a similar process behind the genesis of The Handmaid’s Tale: a steady collecting of clippings, each real, all gradually coalescing into a pictureof rigidly enforced misogyny that wasn’t a figment of the future but obvious to her around the world, once she started to notice.” Margaret Heffernan
Ι have run out of sketching paper. A small gouache pad has sort of come to my rescue. Sο, Ι am dabbling with water colours and pencils while continuing the maternal theme.
Meanwhile, in the background of my art making float extracts from Margaret Atwood’s 1986 book, The Handmaid’s Tale, which I am re-reading. On perspective she writes: “What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close-ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face. Your own skin like a map, a diagram of futility, criscrossed with tiny roads that lead nowhere. Otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be.” On the other hand, been fully in the moment could potentially become a more empowering place to be, even if, what is, is not what one might choose. Ιt provides a kind of freedom even in the context of the fundamentalist, totalitarian and deeply patriarchic society depicted in Atwood’s dystopia, where women are divided in functions and are punished, mutilated and killed for things like reading, expressing an opinion, breaching silence, forming friendships, and so on. If we look back in history and across the world it seems that there is not much in this unsettling fiction book that does not have some historic precedence. In her book, The Penelopiad, Atwood writes that water too lacks the solidity of a wall. She says: “Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”