People who have the ability to give birth have always had to fight for their basic right to bodily autonomy. When I hear stories of people’s experience with abortion, a common theme seems to be that the abortion itself was a relief and a gift but the societal stigma and pressure resulted in feelings of shame and sadness.
This piece is a tribute to the extreme resilience of people who are effected by abortion restrictions and stigmas. No matter how many forces are working against their rights, people with the capacity for pregnancy have always found ways to support each other’s right to choose.
The painting depicts legs marching into the perpetual battle for bodily autonomy. Pomegranate seeds represent female power and strength. Their power sits under the marchers’ feet, keeping them supported and strong. A string of dried flowers, connected by a coat hanger, sits over the painting as a shrine to the deep sadness that this struggle for personal rights has caused so many people.
Hopefully, the need for such resilience will one day come to an end. But until then, we will keep up the fight.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sally Traxler-Lavengood is a Chicago based, mixed media artist and oil painter whose work focuses around representational depictions of the human form and the human experience. She works in very large and very small scale as a way to distort and rethink recognizable images. Her paintings often depict objects of unexplained personal meaning which makes each individual’s interpretations of the pieces unique to their life experiences. She sees the process of painting as a primarily physical, out-of-body practice and uses it as a way to access parts of her subconscious, feeling that her hands can articulate messages faster than her brain. Her compositions are often unplanned and form as she is painting.
Her work aims to be both very personal and universal. While her pieces exhibit mainly representational depictions, her work should be as open to interpretation as abstract work. She currently paints out of her artist collective in Pilsen where she also works as the Gallery manager and Curator of Parlour and Ramp Gallery.
© Sally Traxler-Lavengood