Hairy Situation

Kezban Arca Batibeki's Hairy Tale 2011,  embroidery and collage on canvas COURTESY OF LEILA HELLER GALLERY, NEW YORK

Kezban Arca Batibeki's Hairy Tale 2011, embroidery and collage on canvas COURTESY OF LEILA HELLER GALLERY, NEW YORK

This jewel-like piece comes to us from a Turkish artist working in Istanbul.  Batibeki, a women herself, stages these ladies like puzzle pieces in interior poses. En masse, their forms join to create a graphic harem, a feminine “one.”  Around them roam lions or possibly cougars. They are in danger and unaware, or the animal’s power symbolizes their own power, in complete control. Could they be “on the prowl?”

A branch bisects the field of the canvas or perhaps a crack of some sort.  The power of their collective beauty splitting the fabric of a culture or growing into it.

The group, preoccupied with beauty, wears elegant beaded dresses. One lady applies makeup. Some are reading.  But the velvetblack  hair captures our full attention. The hair with a mind of its own, seems unconcerned with the poses of the women. Defying gravity and convention.  The punctuation-like hair styles voice the feminine spirit.

An ocean blue background unifies the ladies and their bold black tresses. The color blue in European tradition often signifies the divine (the color of the Virgin Mary).  However in Mediterranean cultures, blue wields protective power as a shield from evil spirits.  Everywhere you go in Turkey and other middle eastern countries, you see evil eye amulets worn (like crosses in the West) as an omen to ward off evil.

Do these women need protecting or are you their prey?

Nazar Boncugu - evil eye amulets

Nazar Boncugu - evil eye amulets



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