HECATE’S WRATH (2015) © MELISSA BUDASZ
For the past few months my thoughts have focused on destruction, death and renewal as I have been looking at William Blake’s work in connection to the theme Death and Transition and also for the special event I am organising in The Crypt at St John’s Church, Waterloo on Saturday 25 April 2015, co-hosted by Southbank Mosaics ‘William Blake’s Lambeth’ – Blake resided in Hercules Road in the 1790s which is located close to the church.
The mosaic project pays homage to his genius and some of his greatest work. Southbank Mosaics artists worked with 300 volunteers over a period of seven years to research, design, plan, make and install 70 mosaics based on the words and paintings of William Blake into the railway tunnels of Waterloo Station, turning them from dark unwelcoming places into street galleries bright with opulent and durable works of art. This coincides with the group show I am co-curating and exhibiting with Ilinca Cantacuzino and Yolanta Gawlik at Gabriel Fine Art Gallery in Waterloo. Over 30 South London Women Artists come together to challenge the notion of death and transition by harnessing the force of life, rather than death, through the art process, and question through our work the finality of death.
I recently read In The Body of the World: A Memoir of Cancer and Connection by the activist, playwright and feminist, Eve Ensler. As Ensler was confronted with the possibility of death we experience connections to both her personal denial and our collective denial of global warming, the destruction of species and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Ensler is the founder of the centre ‘City of Joy’ a refuge for the survivors of mass rape in the Eastern Congo.
I think of William Blake as I paint and his insistence on the universality of creativity and as a starting point I have referenced his Hecate of Enitharmon’s Joy. I use myths in a personal and political way as I perceive and process complex ideas and emotions. I have made a series of drawings about my feelings of anger and sorrow, specifically for the Congolese women and children who have been raped and/or murdered – the tragic victims of war. Eastern Congo is known as the rape capital of the world and the worst place on earth to be a woman – confirmed facts by the United Nations.
The Greek Goddess Hecate – the Goddess of magic, sorcery and necromancy has always intrigued me. Typically known as the moon goddess who protected the earth, sea and sky – she is often depicted holding torches and had the ability to see in several directions at once – she is accompanied by an owl and dogs. In these works I draw on her power and imagine her use of sorcery to magically protect and nurture the female body; denying penetration and assault. Through this transformation a transitional and liminal state is perceived which leads ultimately to healing and renewal.