FRUITS DES FEMMES

Sculpture: plaster, pigment, clay, resin, found objects, jesmonite, acrylic mirror

30cm x 25cm x 25cm

2020

I grew up in a parochial British seaside town in the 1980s which was littered with palm trees and named the ‘English riviera’. It was confusing because the sky was often grey & as the titanic green waves crashed over the sea walls post summertime tourism frenzy, even aged 5 I felt depressed by the weighty isolation of this so-called utopia. it was also good too though -being by the sea. 

 

My (vast) Italian family who had migrated to this place in the mid 1950s were at odds with its British heritage. The matriarch (my nan) had a house decorated with stucco on the walls & roman columns on the porch. We lived there for a bit- me and my sister, mum, dad. It had a small entrance with marble & sometimes I put my face on the cold slabs in summertime heat. It felt nice. 

 

There was a spew of chandeliers, pink velvet flowery carpet & furniture gilded with fake gold paint. It was exotic & amazing. There is a lot of gilding in Italy especially in the churches. we went to the church sometimes- mostly for holy communions & funerals. I did not like the smell or the ritual. There was usually a good party afterwards. 

 

The roman columns, like most modern pillars, were actually hollow- everything was fake it was the 80s. Erect white structures pretending to hold up the porch but in fact holding up nothing of exceptional value. Quietly bolstering the long standing social order.

 

It’s the quiet unseen that is often the most dangerous. servants of the patriarchy standing tall attentive to practice a codified power dynamic- a gesture repeated over and over and so you just don’t see it anymore. The erasure of woman that is. Corporeal descriptor agents white-washing yonic landscapes with an uneasy tincture of shame & barbie-doll blank. 

 

She told me (the matriarch) When she first got there you had to order olive oil from the chemist because no one ate it then. She had left her husband with four kids & was a stranger to the palm trees. I didn’t know we were not normal- english people don’t argue at the dinner table apparently. It's christmas 1987 & my sister is dancing to Wham again.