Often women are held back from their true power by the pull of their life. Children, marriage, religion, grief, family, low self-esteem, society's demands - can be both wonderful and suffocating. When a woman chooses to rise and be all she can be she will flourish and maybe even find that the very people she thought were holding her back are her biggest supporters!
The Lotus flower is regarded in many different cultures, especially in eastern religions, as a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth. Its characteristics are a perfect analogy for the human condition: even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters, the Lotus produces the most beautiful flower. Cherry blossoms are a symbolic flower of the spring, a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life. In this painting, I use both of these symbolic flowers to depict both the beauty of women supporting the growth of other women and that life is too short to be anything other than sisters!
My first painting in 30 years! I wanted to show that we are all born perfect with the opportunity to be anything we choose. However, it is often the negative words of others that change our path. When we can learn to rise above those words and actions, we can be anything we choose.
As women, we bear the physical scars of childbirth and breast cancer that can steal our femininity compared to society's perception of what good looks like. But I believe that our physical scars are what makes us, we grow stronger through the pain. And sisters, we should definitely be strutting our amazing beauty like a peacock!
In 2019 I was honoured to have connected with some amazing women who had been the victims of domestic
violence. I had several lengthy and frankly harrowing conversations with these women about their
experiences. This is what drew me to paint ‘Hope IS The Key’.
I had asked each of these women to give me some visuals of what it felt like to be in this abusive relationship
and they all described a similar image or experience.
‘It felt like I was trapped in the grip of my abuser, trying so hard to pull away. I could see a door and I knew on
the other side lay freedom and beauty, but I just couldn’t reach the key.’
This was such a consistent image in their own responses in addition to words like, embarrassed; ashamed;
humiliated and their concern that nobody would believe them because their abuser was so charismatic.
All of these women, who so courageously shared openly with me were adamant that the abuser should not be
given any shape or form, but he should be a shadowy figure in the background, foreboding and controlling but
not entirely visible.
I was happy with the image and then one day I walked into my studio and realised that the painting had fallen
in the night, puncturing the canvas at the exact spot I had painted a fist on the perpetrator. I decided to semi-
repair it and include it as part of the painting by featuring it as a punch hole rather than trying to disguise it.
My tribute to every woman who has been a victim, there is always hope.