I was looking through some of my college papers and found a personal essay I'd written for a women's writing class. The following is an excerpt from the essay entitled Evolution. The paintings are by Jenny Saville.
Close my eyes against the pain.
The artist paints fat people. She smears the canvas with hues of yellow, orange, and blue. She wields her knife with cruelty, caking on the paint in thick globs. No comfortable robe to cover the woman’s exposed breast. No easy pose—allowing the victim the dignity of anonymity. The artist paints broken and bloody women. She shines a bright spotlight on their bruises and their shame. The painting rules the wall—a large and menacing thing—demanding attention. The victim’s eyes plead for pity amid a swirl of cadmium red and yellow ochre. Jenny Saville paints fat, battered women, only to leave them staring hauntingly from the canvas. Frozen in the weakest moments of their lives--they remain forever victims.
Take a deep breath.
Sour whiskey on his breath, stale cigarettes on the table, and my Mother floats away like a butterfly. Her gossamer wings glitter gold in the lamplight…I can still see the evil in his eyes. Feel his hands ripping out my hair, the familiar sting of tears, and the rage of helplessness. I hated being a victim. Why does Jenny Saville paint them as victims? Doesn’t she know that women are survivors—Goddesses sent from other worlds to show this world how to be strong? Why paint them as victims? The questions swirl, the memory fades.