Judith and the Dark Night

24 Jan

Ana Maria Pacheco, The Beheading (Judith), 1991, Charcoal, graphite and pastel on paper, 167.5 x 243.5 cm,

It was a dark and stormy night.  Judith lit a cigarette and stepped upon the podium, so she could be seen above the crowd of outlaws.  Despite the lingerie and the knife within her hand, she lifted high the bag.  “It’s the loot,” she smoldered – and struck a triumphant pose.

Ana Maria Pacheco, a Brazilian-born sculptor and painter, was both the first non-European and first sculptor to be chosen as Associate Artist at the London’s National Gallery in 1996.  Her work is “a compelling yet disturbing merging of Brazilian folklore, classical myth, mystical Catholicism and political satire.”   The motif of decapitation derives originally from the bandits of Brazil’s twentieth century folk history, whose memory lives on through ballads which circulated in north-eastern Brazil – becoming a symbol of colonialism’s violence both in resistance and its suppression. (1)

The lingerie is a symbol of … liberation?

And then that eerie floating head.  A looming image of the severed noggin in the bag … or an art critic.

(1) Ana Maria Pacheco: Memoria Roubada, Wallspace, London, 8-25 October 2008.

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Whorey


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