“Look”, her lover Heloise said.
And Maryanne turned her head to look at Sophie laying on the bed in the one-room cottage. Her knees were up and the woman was applying a salve that she had taught her young daughter to mix earlier, to Sophia’s vagina.
A baby lay next to Sophia on the bed, cooing at her and holding her finger.
Sophia was having an abortion it wasn’t a moral decision but a practical one.
It was what women did. But there’s little record of it.
Later Heloise and Sophia would recreate the scene so Maryanne could paint it.
This scene from Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, a wonderful movie set in late eighteenth-century France, made me think about how art and history would have been different if it had been told and created by women and from a woman’s point of view.
It made me understand the importance of telling my own story and creating my art from my point of view.
I’ve always told my story and the larger story of women with my art.
Quilts have always been an acceptable way for women to be creative and express themselves. And women have been drawing vulvas and images of fertility since humans began making art.
My art not only tells my story but it’s made from the scraps and fabric of other women’s lives. And when I began putting the goddess and vulvas into my work I was just reaching back further in history to make that connection.
For years I thought my story not important or interesting enough to be heard. This scene in Portrait Of A Lady On Fire has helped me to see that it is.