Let Our Voices Emerge
Let Our Voices Emerge is a body of work inspired by all oppressed women’s efforts to gain civil rights. These women represent the universal struggle to be seen and heard. The burqa symbolizes women’s invisibility worldwide and serves as a unifying element among the women as they merge into one body. I have used simplified shapes and a somber palette of dark grays to represent despair and bright glowing colors to signify hope, determination, and power. These women represent women of all cultures who struggle for essential freedom and the right to be heard.
“My inspiration began on the 8th of March 2011, as a demonstration, commemorating International Women’s Day, in Cairo’s Tahir Square that turned ugly. I continued watching women in the streets who were defiant and, against all odds being fearless in the face of a paternalistic society that previously had denied them even their voice. Touching something deep inside of me and I began to paint what has become a body of work called “Let Your Voices Be Heard.” But more importantly, I came to realize that these singular women were truly a metaphor for all women. The shrouded shadow bodies, the heads without features, helmet-like and mute, that I had begun to paint, soon gathered round and round and supported each other. Their arms circled as in the Greek dances of my childhood; the whispered chant became louder until no longer would it be denied. There is power here, feminine power coming from the voices we have all heard from childhood, magnified by the experiences of suppression, rebellion, exile, torture, and arising at last, singly and in unison declaring: “It is enough. We will speak our wisdom, and the world will be reborn with us, like a phoenix.” As a painter, I have never been more aware of the predominant tension between light and dark, and between the ebb and flow of life force present in us all. I have always loved the process of painting, of letting layers appear and express themselves, of digging and digging to find elements that beg to be seen. Now, more than ever, it is my joy to work through the tension and get to the light, on the other side of darkness and silence. For the first time, the oil flows onto the linen from a place deep inside of me that is not solely mine; I do not own it; I merely translate it. I want to share it and let the universal dance of the feminine spirit be seen as well as heard.”