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  • Writer's pictureElvira m. Dayel

drawing room sf: group exhibit

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

This month I took part in two group exhibitions that have to do with the 8th of March - the international women's day. In one of the exhibits, gallery owner & a wonderful artist herself scheduled a series of artist talks in which women told their stories. My story was:

this was my presentation:

"8th of March, women's day, now we celebrate the whole month as women’s month? Im part of two concurrent exhibitions which are dedicated to this notion. We celebrate feminism, equality, career, success. Thanks to these movements men are benefiting tremendously, in helping us to celebrate they are also given an opportunity to be in touch w/ their gentle, nurturing side.

As women, mentally, chemically, traditionally we experience the urge to nurture. As women we have a need to forgive, we have a natural desire to be mothers, to give life, to protect the vulnerable. When I had my daughter, my mother told me, “now you have done the most important thing of your life” - she said. Yes, career is important, success, personal fulfillment, social achievement but everything pales in significance in front of having babies & caring for them.

This piece, this diptych is about the opposite, the unimaginable for any mother, or a caring parent to live through. This is a very unhappy art but art which must be made.

This event took place on December 2012, in Newtown Connecticut. Event about which many of you, possibly all know or at least heard about.

As i was watching the terrible news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting unfold, it wasn’t the first school shooting and by far it wouldn’t be the last. Yet it was the most gruesome one: most vulnerable, unsuspecting 6 & 7 year-olds dead in a matter of minutes. The politics of this is a big discussion and what of it? What’s changed? I feel inapt, I think this society of fighters for the right cause is turned into one of complacency. In which active shooter school drills are the current norm.

Back to 2012. As I make work, at that time i just finished a large body of work and had new, fresh unmarked paper hanging on my easels waiting for new ideas. I must mention that rarely i make work that directly reflects current events. Usually my work is analysis and distillation of various occurrences and emotional state of being. This time was different. I simply could not make work about anything else. My mind & body felt creation of the feeling and at that time the feeling was indescribably overwhelming. At about that time I became a young mother myself…

Feelings of grief, strong emotions took hold and I made this diptych fast. Many times struggling through it with tears in my eyes, rolling down my cheeks.

Specifically about the work:

  • Full of life little souls & educators perished - here they are hovering above the ground… The town of Newtown was scrambling for small size coffins to give burial to 20 children. In a news article I read that there weren't enough small size coffins on hand. That particular thought just kept on numbing my brain. In my mind they were these blue strung up small boxes.

  • Coffin shapes are reflected / mirrored - portals, windows, openings. The shape is equal in death but different in life & especially different in our memory.

I am not a politician, not a soldier… I’m an artist and this artwork is my offering & plea for action."

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