The image of woman of all times
An interesting read about women art by Gonneke van den Kieboom
Please find the translation below:
In the wake of the Royal visit to the XXL Chichi in Punda, a lively (online) discussion has broken out about the Afro-Curaçaoan image of women. The reason was criticism of the plan for the royal family to apply its own painting to the sculpture of a voluptuous, sensual black woman. I’m surprised I didn’t find out whether the discussion is about the latter; that the king would lay his hand on the curves of a black woman? or that we are supposed to discuss the image of women ‘with big buttocks, big tits, wide legs’, which can be experienced as stigmatizing? I think it’s good that we’re looking into this together.
From an art-historical perspective, the image of the curvaceous woman is much older than the Road to Rome. The oldest female statue found dates from about 35,000 years ago and comes from Africa. And on the other side of the world, in Polynesia, images to worship women are made with the same formal language. Throughout the ages, the busty woman has been the symbol of fertility, maternity and sensuality in almost all cultures. The famous statue of the Venus de Milo is one of the first more stylized – read covered – examples of this. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the inspiration from which Fernando Botero (Colombia 1932) drew for ‘Nude 1989’, among others.
Under the influence of changing ideas about aesthetics and image meaning, the image of Venus also changes with the image of time. And now we can cherish and model living bodies. In 2023 we cannot ignore objectifying female imaginations. And that is precisely where art plays an important role as an interpretation of a movement, vision and era. This is about the story and the message that the artist has with the work. What is it trying to tell us? What can or should we think about it, and what do I think, do we think? So the question is what conversation do we want to have? About the king and Chichi? Or about the image of women in Curaçao (and much of the Caribbean) art?
In Curaçao art, so many cultural backgrounds are interwoven into our unique image of women, which, without exception, represents the powerful woman, the matriarch, who, in addition to pride, also represents sensuality and fertility. “Big tits, big butt, ready to conquer” isn’t just for black women, I think
reserved, and can be experienced as inspiring or caricatured by all women. Future artists will certainly offer new answers from new and innovative angles. I’m already looking forward to that.
The author, Gonneke van den Kieboom, who lives and works alternately in the Netherlands and Curaçao, says she tries to interpret her worlds out of amazement.