The famous let-them-eat-cake story is deeply personal to me. The legend says that, upon being informed that her citizens didn't have any bread to eat, the French Queen Marie Antoinette exclaimed: "Well, let them eat cake!" It's difficult to tell, centuries later, whether she was being ironic and calloused, or simply ignorant of the famine people living outside of her palace walls were facing. But even today there are people who are suffering in silence and people who are ignorant or insensitive to their struggles.
These three paintings from my Let Them Eat Cake series are an attempt to expose and shed more light on the literal and metaphorical suffering, suppression and objectification of women. I know many incredible women who could really make a difference in this world if they only had a chance to be the person they were meant to be.
I come from a blue-collar, factory town. I wasn't imprisoned or tortured, but I had to fight my way out of a place where I was physically and mentally abused by different men in my life. Wanting to escape and step out, I decided to get a union factory job and earn money honestly instead of illegally.
I walked to school on gravel paths and cement walks, crossing over train tracks and alongside grimy, grey factory buildings. My gang of friends and I smoked cigarettes and drank schnapps as we wound our way through the maze to school. No one had plans for college or thought of what lay beyond the city limits. I was different, though. I dreamt of getting an education and perhaps, one day, a non-sexist job.
I painted and drew at night, in the mornings and on weekends. I was drawn to study art and later science. I felt propelled forward by my desire to escape brutality, closed-mindedness and apathy.
I think that becoming aware is the first step. Getting an education is the next.