Army of Mariam, 2008–2009
Blind Side Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
is a sculpture installation that forms a representation of the power and will of women. As a female artist, birth can be seen as analogous to creation. This procreation is now Army of Mariam.
The ‘army’ is an army of women, which is something that essentially doesn’t exist, at least not in terms of the pejorative associations we have with an army. The artist’s prolonged obsession with the placenta resulted in seeking the mortal/immortal aspect of the organ being the source of existence and death. The artist holds on to the image of her placenta back in her mother’s uterus only to find the secrets of immortality and armies of women from descendants past. Mariam’s Army is a product of Mariam’s psyche and is not employed for destructive power or war. Army of Mariam fights another type of war; they’re their own psychological entity in battle and are not part of mankind. These characters are portraits of real women from the Middle East whom the artist has chosen to be part of her army; they extend themselves as women who take control of their will. The internally lit sculptures vary in sizes, from seven to eleven inches tall and five to ten inches in diameter. The strategic use of paper was intentional to replicate the degenerative decay of flesh. Paper also served as a metaphor for emotional vulnerability; an object that does not resist damage.
The artist expresses her freedom of imagination through role-play with her different individual characters. The production of this army satisfies more than a sense of imagination and making art; rather, it creates a dialogue between the artist and her personal attachment to her mother’s uterus.