May 2, 2008

Sacrifice, Revisited

Another repost today this from 7/12/07, a little bit about art history, Dali and Gala, and Surrealism, and feminism and thoughts about gender. I have really enjoyed going back and reading these old posts, remembering what I was going through and seeing how cyclical my thoughts and actions can be. I have reconnected to this post today, thinking about what it means to be a modern woman, in all the different roles we play in our work, lives, marriages, and to society. And how sometimes it can be overwhelming to try to comprehend and balance it all.
Asummpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina by Salvador Dali

Some interpretation of this painting from the Dali Gallery online: "Dalí saw this painting as an interpretation of the philosopher Nietzsche's idea of natural strength, although here we have Gala as a "superwoman", ascending to heaven through her own innate force. In a later explanation of the work, Dalí wrote that Gala was rising to heaven with the aid of "anti-matter Angels". The painting can be interpreted as Gala's body either disintegrating or integrating."

So today I am thinking about this painting, and the song below. I find the painting interesting because of the power of the image of Dali's wife and muse Gala as the combination of an angel, savior, and woman. She is all at once idolized, a perfect vision of beauty and peace, ascending, dispersing, being torn apart. (and on a geeky Harry Potter note...don't those look like Dementors swirling around her?)

And I don't know if this is Dali's intention, but from the many images of Gala in his paintings, I believe that he found her to be both an angelic muse and an earthly woman, with all the things in between. I think he explored the complexities of womanhood, and of humanity. And this was early to the middle of last century. This painting was painted in the mid 50's. I wonder how Dali would have envisioned such a woman today.

I am thinking about the woman of today, and our roles in modern society. This is heavy in my mind this weekend as I go to the NOW (National Organization of Women) conference. My goal is to listen and talk to women about this, about the issues of third wave feminism, how women in our culture can do just about everything, are free to make our own choices, and the problems that arise from that. Now that women can do it all, how do we decide what is important and learn how NOT to actually try to do it ALL. How do women become happy, content, and fulfilled without overwhelming and sacrificing ourselves?

"Crucify" by Tori Amos
I've been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Got enough guilt to start
My own religion

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