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BOXES beyond borders


Rowena Galavitz
Mexico 1995

What is this piece about? For me, it’s about the danger of sensuality. How we are beckoned by the flesh. How our desire can become our anguish. How a wrong decision can mean death, be it of the spirit or the body. How the need for self-destruction can be initiated in a seemingly healthy person from the hurt and pain of a relationship. Thus — the presence of the sword. Although I also see this sword as positive, perhaps a form of protection or an attribute, like that of Saint Agnes. *

The question of violence enters in here, too. This woman — in all her sensuality — is in a coffin. Why? Was she a victim of violence, of rape? Can our sensual self die under certain circumstances? Is our nudity kept hidden away in a dark, quiet place?

The veil also invokes the mysteriousness of Muslim women, their eyes being their only available sensual feature.

* (Saint Agnes was very beautiful, but she rejected all of her suitors, one of whom became angry and had her condemned to death. Since it was forbidden to execute virgins, she was first sent to a burdel. Nevertheless, no man was able to touch her. After being tortured, she was finally decapitated. She is often portrayed with a sword piercing her breast. She is the patron saint of virginal innocence.)