Artist’s Notes

Running Girl #1

Running Girl #1

Running Girl #1

This artwork was made when the artist first moved into a new studio. She put large pieces of paper on the wall and started making marks relating to a landscape. Since the girls had just been kidnapped they were on the artist’s mind. Having gone to an all-girls high school herself, she started drawing girls hiding in the landscape. When she stepped back to see the artwork, she saw the form of a person running. At that moment, she decided to make 53 artworks of girls running – one for every girl who got away.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Spring 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #3

Running Girl #3

Running Girl #3

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Spring 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #4

Running Girl #4

Running Girl #4

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Spring 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #5

Running Girl #5

Running Girl #5

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Spring 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #6

Running Girl #6

Running Girl #6

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Spring 2014 – Framed in running shoelaces and bridal lace blackened with charcoal (symbolizing forced marriage and widowhood). The four gold star pins refer to doing well on schoolwork, the way the military honors courage in battle, the star on the flag of Islam and Wonder Women.

Running Girl #7

Running Girl #7

Running Girl #7

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Spring 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #9

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Summer 2014 – Framed in running shoelaces and bridal lace blackened with charcoal (symbolizing forced marriage and widowhood). The four gold star pins refer to doing well on schoolwork, the way the military honors courage in battle, the star on the flag of Islam and Wonder Women.

Running Girl #10

Running Girl #10

Running Girl #10

On November 1, 2014 the leader of the Boko Haram announced in a video that all the kidnapped schoolgirls had been married off and converted to Islam laughing at any notion of a supposed ceasefire deal. He said to the parents of the girls, “If you knew what state your daughters were in, it might lead some of you to die from grief…” This artwork incorporates text art and is setup as a notebook with a ripped out page as a metaphor for these girls being ripped from their homes.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Summer 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #14

Running Girl #14

Running Girl #14

The text art in this Running Girl is based on the title of the current New York Times bestseller on feminism, How to be a Woman. The author, Caitlan Moran is described on the cover as “a feminist heroine for our times”. This drawing reflects on this heroism and asks us to compare it to the heroism of schoolgirls who risk their lives to get educated and are kidnapped while taking an exam.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Summer 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #15

Running Girl #15

Running Girl #15

This artwork was made 106 days after the schoolgirls were kidnapped – just when reports started coming in that they are now using some of the young girls as suicide bombers. The text also alludes to the Biblical phrase “I am” as it relates to God and thus, religion being explosive. It references when women get angry and are labelled. And it’s about the explosive moment when the girls who escaped started running. The first verified report of the Boko Haram using a young girl as a suicide bomber was Jan 9, 2015 when a 10-year-old girl was used to kill 20 people and injure 18 in a Northern Nigeria market.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Summer 2014 – Framed in running shoelaces and bridal lace blackened with charcoal (symbolizing forced marriage and widowhood). The four gold star pins refer to doing well on schoolwork, the way the military honors courage in battle, the star on the flag of Islam and Wonder Women.

Running Girl #16

Running Girl #16

Running Girl #16

This Running Girl artwork comments on the 13-year old Mo’ne Davis who pitched the first shutout ever in the Little League World Series. Out of the 9000 players who have participated in the Little League World Series only 18 have been girls. Mo’ne is the same age as many of the kidnapped girls, and with a 70 mph fastball, isn’t afraid to show the boys what girls can do. She says, “I never thought that at the age of 13 I would be a role model, but now it’s real…” (As are all the kidnapped girls who put their lives at risk to get educated). The homeplate shape symbolizes a home and all those recently displaced from their homes due to religious wars. It is also a metaphor for the “homemaker”. The text art “steal home” wishes the kidnapped girls safe return home.

In addition, this artwork builds on the history of art. Historically, artists were obedient servants to the papacy, yet many had heretical messages hidden in their artworks. Today, it’s vice versa. Artists are obedient to the contemporary art world and religion is heresy. So this Running Girl plays with that fact by hiding the religious symbol –a sword representing Joan of Arc. The relevance of Joan is that she was a teenage martyr who was burned at the stake for her beliefs. She tried to escape captivity and argued in her trial, “It is lawful for any prisoner to try and escape.” (Note: the top of the sword is the top of the house and the handle is the foot.) The artwork reflects on the growing number of people around the world who are being forced to hide their religious beliefs to survive.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #18

Running Girl #18

Running Girl #18

An Australian international advisor, Dr. Stephen Davis, contacted Boko Haram commanders and arranged for sixty of the girls to be freed in a goodwill gesture towards a peace deal with the government. At the time, the girls were held in Cameroon and the commanders agreed to drop the girls at a specific location. They brought them in twenty different trucks. Only 15 minutes before Davis and his team arrived, the girls were kidnapped again by another group which demanded ransom for them. So the deal failed. (In the end, the original kidnappers got the girls back.) One of the truck drivers was a young man also kidnapped by the Boko Haram who took advantage of the situation to help a few girls escape. The girls he helped hid in the bushes. One of the girls had somehow managed to keep her cell phone from getting confiscated the entire time and had it in her bra. The girls had no idea where they were or which direction they were heading. When the one girl called her family, they told her to walk west by following the sunset. The girls were eventually reunited with their families. The text in this artwork reads “follow the sunset”. The numbers relate to the phone number I would have called when their age and lost. The N relates to North and Nazarene (which Isis is painting on the doors of all the Christians in Syria and Iraq).

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 – Framed in running shoelaces and bridal lace blackened with charcoal (symbolizing forced marriage and widowhood). The four gold star pins refer to doing well on schoolwork, the way the military honors courage in battle, the star on the flag of Islam and Wonder Women.

Running Girl #19

Running Girl #19

Running Girl #19

The only Chibook schoolgirls to escape from the Boko Haram after being captured are the four who got away during the botched goodwill exchange in late August. These girls reported back that they were raped every day. Since the latest official count of missing girls is 219 (the unofficial count is higher due to the fact that some parents are afraid to come forward and say their children are missing) and the girls have been missing 142 days as of this artwork, then if you do the math – which they don’t want girls doing because that requires education – the total number of rapes to date is 31,098. That number is in white and goes up to 31,099.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #20

Running Girl #20

Running Girl #20

Since the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon has been in office, 13 billion dollars has disappeared from the government. The signs point to corruption in that government at every turn. This artwork plays with his name, where the letter J stands for both Jesus and Jonathon (good and evil). The text art Goodluck running down the leg wishes both the girls good luck and the world good luck fighting corruption and evil.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education.

Running Girl #21

Running Girl #21

Running Girl #21

This artwork was inspired by the Miss America pageant.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 Framed in running shoelaces and bridal lace blackened with charcoal (symbolizing forced marriage and widowhood). The four gold star pins refer to doing well on schoolwork, the way the military honors courage in battle, the star on the flag of Islam and Wonder Women.

Running Girl #22

Running Girl #22

Running Girl #22

The text art “serpents” references reports that two of the Chibook kidnapped schoolgirls have died from snake bites. It alludes to the Biblical representation of satan as a serpent.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 Framed in running shoelaces and bridal lace blackened with charcoal (symbolizing forced marriage and widowhood). The four gold star pins refer to doing well on schoolwork, the way the military honors courage in battle, the star on the flag of Islam and Wonder Women.

Running Girl #23

Running Girl #23

Running Girl #23

The text art “The Red Cross” is relevant since the organization is now working to negotiate the release of all the kidnapped schoolgirls. It references the cross, blood and war. In addition, the “Nazarene” text refers to reports that Isil/Isis is now painting N’s on houses where Christians reside in Iraq and Syria –the N standing for Nazarene.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #25

RG25 for Bergen

In late September, the Boko Haram finally let one of the school girls go. The 20-year-old girl wandered in the bush for four days before she was found running through a village. She was hospitalized and reunited with her family. The text art reads “hellp”.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #27

Luck series

#27 is a trilogy. The series of three is based on the fact that the leader of the Boko Haram has so many look-alikes that one never knows if he has actually been killed when a dead body that appears to be him is found. So three of the same Running Girl were created. The Trinity is a Christian metaphor for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The artworks incorporate text art stating 1. Badluck 2. Goodluck and 3. Dumbluck –all derived from the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathon’s name. The Trinity comments on events in mid-October when the Nigerian government said the kidnapped girls would be freed in a week as part of a cease-fire. The London Telegraph hinted the cease-fire was driven by the upcoming announcement that Goodluck will be running for President again and just a political stunt. The girls were not freed as promised. The word “deceased-fire” refers to all the people killed by the Boko Haram since the supposed cease-fire began. The F grade represents that the Boko Haram is fighting against educating women and grades Goodluck. Note that the letter “L” has been dropped from Badluck and the “f” from deceased-fire replaces it. This symbolizes the bad things being done by bad men and the continued raping of the missing girls. The “f” in Goodluck is about what he has done to the country. And the “f” in Dumbluck references how the Boko Haram is against educating women (yet it is through the education of women that we can stop this cycle of violence). The loss of the “L” and the substitution of the “f” removes any love from the situation. Here, the repeated use of the word luck and belief in luck also dismisses God from it.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

Running Girl #28

Running Girl #28

Running Girl #28

In early 2012, the Nigerian government rounded up and imprisoned the wives and children of Boko Haram members triggering their retaliation and the kidnappings of schoolgirls. The Boko Haram waited six months for the release of their spouses. It didn’t happen. In September of 2012, Boko Haram commander Abubekar Shekau made a threat on YouTube stating, “…since you are now holding our women just wait and see what will happen to your women.” Women are being used as pawns on both sides of this war. This artwork examines the political environment around the kidnapped girls.

Mixed media on paper 60” x 44” Fall 2014 – Framed in paper symbolizing notebook and education

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