French feminist writer, poet and playwright Hélène Cixous once said that in the history of writings, women were silenced for the longest of time, as only men were deemed worthy to express their thoughts and ideas on paper.
The same can be said for the history of paintings, argues Tommy F. Awuy, curator of the exhibition “Nature Body-ness” at Philo Art Space.
“The women in the world of painting are still bound by the impression of being a ‘thing of beauty’, and therefore they are more worthy to be the object of a painting rather than being a painter-subject,” he says. “It cannot be denied that in this particular world, the men [regard the female body] as an object of beauty.”
The exhibition, that runs through February 26, presents the works of two women painters, Nana Tedja and Utin Rini. While they use different styles – realism and expressionism, respectively – both artists convene women’s issues in their works.
“Nana’s paintings depict women who are awaken from their path in culture that place them in a particular space and time,” Tommy says. “Nana seems to be thinking progressively, but she is also not blind to what is left behind.”
The rapid progress in our lives as a result of reflection, science and technology still presents us with a problem, he adds.
“If the passion to go forward is pushed too hard, there is a hidden danger. We may lose our spirit, our original wildness, the beauty in playing and being one with nature.”
Utin, on the other hand, approaches the subject by revisiting the beginning: the history.
“Utin seems to not intentionally paint the history of women opposite the dominant masculinity,” Tommy explains. “Her way is to understand the world of femininity itself.”
Utin paints the “body-ness” of women and the “body-ness” of earth as an entity, he adds, which is undergoing a serious endeavor to be rejuvenated. She addresses the baffling paradox of a woman’s body, that is either deemed pretty or dirty – every time they have their period, for instance – but that it, in fact, is essential to ensure the continuity of life.
Until February 26
Philo Art Space
Jl. Kemang Timur No. 90C
Tel. 021 719 8448