Yesterday I went to Marlene Dumas exhibition at Tate Modern. The exhibition covered Duma’s entire career and it is organized by chronology. I discovered this painter some weeks ago and was delighted with her work. Marlene was born in South Africa in 1953. Her paintings explore themes such as sexuality, death and shame, making reference to art history, popular culture and her life. A lot of people don’t like her work because her portraits are strong and a bit disturbing.
The name of this painting is “Fingers” and was done in 1999. It is a part of the collection called “The amoral touch”. At the first moment that I saw this image, I was a bit shocked but then I started to ask myself why. In a lot of countries, women’s masturbation is tabu. Many girls feel embarrassed talking about this topic. In the other hand, men’s masturbation is considered an ordinary attitude. This kind of thinking was created by the culture of machismo to repress women’s desire and their own feelings. After this quick reflection, I started to like this art. Only a brave woman can do this canvas in a sexist society in order to question the need to repress women’s desire. There are a lot of ways to change this kind of thinking. One of them is art. This portrait impacts the spectators, either in a good or in a bad sense. The important thing is trying do something different to create a new feeling in others and attempt to start a process of change in society.
At the end of the exhibition, I selected this portrait as my favorite one. In this painting, Dumas tried to represent South Africa and all its citizens. This black man has a facial expression that can awake the feeling of recognition in everyone. As women, I feel his fragility. The same feeling that I have when I try to take my place in society. The blue in his front reminds me of freedom. Freedom is a fight that I will never give up, neither as a woman nor as a person because everyone has the right to make their own choices.