The Vessel

2008

Is a woman’s role in society defined by her biological function, even today in the age of reproductive freedom? Do we as a species exist only to reproduce?

Lilium candidum, commonly known as the Madonna Lily, is a symbol of the Virgin Mary. Mary, the mother of Jesus, symbolizes the ultimate purpose of traditional womanhood: procreation. In religious iconography, Mary is depicted as a passive character. She is the docile caregiver with perpetually down cast eyes and a placid facial expression, whose sole accomplishment lies in fulfilling her biological function by giving birth to a male child. Religious art throughout the ages might have summarized the virtues of a woman in a society without reproductive freedom, but if Mary was a contemporary person, how would we portray her?

I think that she would not be shy to meet the viewer’s eyes or be embarrassed by her femininity. She would embrace her body and her sexuality. Her reproductive function no longer defines all that she is or all that she can be. She is now more than just a vessel. Covered in Madonna Lily tattoos, her eyes wide open, she stands smiling and strong, and the baby in her womb is a girl.

 

Materials:

Porcelain, ball-jointed, engraved tattoo, china paint, mohair, steel springs, leather. 13.5” (34.5cm) tall.

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