40.000 x 60.000 x 2.000 inches
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The Blues Woman - Gaye Adegbalola
Painting - Oil On Canvas
This model wrote the following about her feelings about herself:
Shame is a terrible thing. It can totally wreck a life, derail growth, and prevent living an honest life. It is often put on one's self by one's self. We allow others to oppress us.
In my youth, I was ashamed of my blackness -- my nappy hair, my dark, dry skin. I was able to cast that shame off and embrace my black glory.
In my young adult life, I was ashamed of my small town upbringing, my southern drawl, my lack of style. I was able to cast that shame off and embrace my cultural uniqueness.
In my mid-adult years, I was ashamed of being a single parent who often lived in poverty. I was able to cast that shame off, embrace my independence and revel in the beauty of a strong son whose soul is intact.
In my later adult years, I was ashamed of my sexuality. It took many years (yes, I allowed other people to oppress me, make me feel like a lesser person), but now I embrace my God-given worth and live honestly as a lesbian.
So, in old age, when asked to pose nude, I was faced with what I considered to be my last bastion of shame -- my body. The shame of my big gut which now has a shelf from a 7 inch-long incision because of cancer. The shame of bunioned feet due to trying to be cute in pointed toed shoes. And, the shame of those enduring sausage toes. The shame of long titties due to the aging pull of gravity. As a blues woman, I lay my soul bare on stage, but could I lay my body bare?? I said "Yes. Yes, I can." I cast off this shame and embraced, even wallowed in, the joy of being alive! My body is the Creator's holy vessel!!
Let me note that the chair was not to hide anything, but just to be a prop. The prop cast magical shadows, gave magical comfort and. . . allowed the display of my tats! My magical adornment! Then, the artist did her magical thing. Thank you, Susan -- from me and all the women you help to cast off the shame.
January 16th, 2012
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