“It’s Alive!” is the first of a multimedia series of works titled HAVEN’T I GIVEN ENOUGH???!!. HAVEN’T I GIVEN ENOUGH???!! consists of paintings, a Super 8 motion-picture film, and works on paper that challenge the policing of women’s bodies under the patriarchy and the misogynistic history of the world.
“It’s Alive!” originated from my time during Big Medium’s the LINE Residency in the summer of 2022, following the overturn of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. Roe v. Wade is a landmark piece of legislation that made access to an abortion a federal right in the United States. Decide in 1973, the case ensured that women and uterus-having individuals had some control over their own bodies for the first time. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022 dismantled 50 years of legal protection and paved the way for individual states to curtail or outright ban abortion rights. I felt an indescribable sense of fear from this decision, along with thousands of others. Nowhere felt safe to me. I no longer felt human. I felt like, all my life, the patriarchy has taken from me. My self-confidence, my autonomy, my sense of security, my sense of worth. Hadn’t I given enough? What more can be taken from me?
My fear gradually reshaped into rage. This raw emotional state was channeled into my first work that eventually developed into the series HAVEN’T I GIVEN ENOUGH???!!. I felt feral. Because of this experience, as well as my own insecurities about my body, I decided to become the monster so many men feared. Social constructs, such as western beauty standards and fat phobia, intersected with my own life experiences.
I was inspired by kaiju, a Japanese media genre involving giant monsters, and movies like, Merian C. Cooper’s King Kong, Honda Ishirō’s Godzilla, and Nathan H. Juran’s Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Having witnessed the destroyed city of Hiroshima one year after the atomic bomb was dropped, Honda Ishirō became captivated with the idea of such destructive power in the hands of men. Godzilla is a very real reflection of contemporary terror drawn from contemporary events. Godzilla, both the character and the film, are a reflection on the Japanese experience at the end of World War II – destruction beyond imagining, and a lurking sense of “We brought this on ourselves.”
This theme of the consequences of men’s hubris is present in King Kong as well. Released in 1933, some scholars and critics have argued that the movie contains racist subtexts, and that King Kong himself embodies a caricature of Black people as animal-like and violent. [GKS1] The movie reflects the racial and social tensions within the United States at that time and, in many ways, that continue to plague the nation. Even though the plot is presented as an epic adventure, observe the plot carefully: a heroic film crew sails to an uncharted island, which is home to a gigantic ape, known as Kong. Here, the film’s white leading lady is abducted by Kong, only to be rescued later by her white knight in shining armor. The supposed brute, Kong, is captured and taken to New York to cruelly be exhibited as the Eighth Wonder of the World. But Kong somehow breaks free, kidnaps the leading lady, and goes on a destruction spree, before being shot down atop the Empire State Building. In addition to the racial undertones, the Kong films also draw uncomfortable parallels with colonialism.
In “It’s Alive!”, I too become a consequence of man’s actions, leading to their own destruction. Due to the oppression of women globally, the population of roughly 3 billion men is going up in flames, along with the inequalities, misogyny, and policing in the form of beauty standards, reproduction, and sexuality they created.
In the same fully saturated color palette of my last series, BINARY, the oil painting consists of a completely nude version of myself and towering in scale with a burning city behind me. Several references to the original Godzilla King of the Monsters are present in the painting, from the composition to the text boxes, one reading “CIVILIZATION CRUMBLES as it’s ass and tits blast a pop. of 3 billion from the face of the earth!” This body of work emphasizes a push and pull of repulsion and attraction in the form of horror and humor. Men are seen fleeing at the bottom of the painting and the narrative of who to fear has been reversed. I’m tired of living in fear that a man might “lose control” and attack me in a dark alleyway while I’m alone on a trail wearing my headphones or when he’s drunk and I turn away his advances. These are real stories that happen every day. In this narrative, women are no longer being raped and murdered at the hands of men. In this narrative, it’s time for men to start living in fear of women, INCREDIBLE, UNSTOPPABLE TITANS OF TERROR!
Attack of the 300 lb Woman!
INCREDIBLE, UNSTOPPABLE TITAN OF TERROR!