Goddesses, Demons, Witches and Saints: Feminine Power Appears ‘Worshipped and Feared’ in Cultures

“la Caixa” Foundation and the British Museum opened the exhibition this Wednesday in Madrid He respected and feared. Feminine Power in Art and Faith that Includes 166 historical pieces from prehistory to the 21st century Through dialogue with contemporary artists.

The exhibition includes various representations of the feminine force that have taken the form of goddesses, spirits, demons, witches or saints throughout history. Forms that have often been central to many cultures. The story is about this type of spiritual power, not something related to the government. Often this symbolic representation is associated with feminine beauty, although sometimes the gender is ambiguous and hermaphrodites (bigenders) or singers with prominent attributes are represented.

It is curated by Belinda Crear, Curator and Head of Content Development for International Exhibitions at the British Museum, and Rosa Martinez, Curatorial Advisor for the Selection of Contemporary Works. According to the curators, these images speak to “the human desire to feel secure and centered, the natural cycles of fertility and the continuity of life.” “They embody desire and passion, chaos and harmony.” Sometimes they are marginal and obscure figures, sometimes they are central to society; In some they point to women’s independence, in others to their leadership potential; Sometimes they respect, sometimes they fear.

The exhibition, which can be seen at the CaixaForum in Madrid from September 27 to January 14, 2024, is divided into five sections: creativity and nature; passion and desire; magic and evil; Justice and protection, compassion and salvation.

In Creation and Nature, approaches are made to spiritual traditions that connect the earth to the feminine, biological phenomena, and the natural landscape. Here is the Sheela-na-gig carving from medieval Ireland, which depicts a woman with a prominent vulva; Video performance of Ecuadorian artist Saskia Calderon I have not seen the moons (2021) and the paper Swear! How many found the beat (1999) Cuban Marta Maria Perez Bravo.

In Lust and Desire, sexual desire is explored, which is associated with either the divine or the demonic. The Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar, Queen of the Night, appears (ca. 1750 BC); work Ulkani (1979) An engraving by Anna Mendieta of Cuba or Lucas Cranach, 1500-1515 depicts the fall of man.

In magic and evil, women and female authority are associated with danger or threat to society: witches, monsters, and demons. Here is an early example of the satanic evil witch stereotype Saturday of Hans Baldung Grien (1510); Dragon heads (2018), Dan performer Marina Abramović and three 2015 works by non-binary South African artist Zanel Muhol.

“Justice and protection” we are talking about religious traditions that associate feminine power with physical strength, justice and moral authority. Of particular note is the large statue of Sekhmet, the lion goddess associated with war, destruction and disease, but also protection. Here talks (2008), by Christina Lucas, proposes to correct historical injustices against women.

In Compassion and Salvation, virgins appear and interact with other religions. It can be seen here Daedalus once designed a dance floor for Ariadne at Knossos. (2019-2023), by the Catalan Tania Berta Judith, where she embroiders three sheets inherited from her family. and Portia Zwawahera, who I traveled here (2020), uses printing ink to represent the world of dreams, a nocturnal world where ghosts, fears and ancestral spirits appear.

The exhibition will be complemented by other activities, such as parallel events held in collaboration with La Sullivan, from November 7 to 28, or a special episode of the Ciberlocutorio podcast by Andrea Gümez and Ana Pacheco on November 7.

Source: El Diario





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