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* These products are made to order so please allow 3-4 weeks. Organic washed poplin cotton print of my painting Medusa's Family Reunion 100cm x 150cm (39.4" x 59") Does not include magnet frame but Amazon has these and I have used 120cm (47") poster hangers. Signed in fabric ink

When I thought about what I might do for Medusa and her memory, I was still in the mind frame of my most recent exhibition. The theme was joy

Medusa’s story is focused on her torment and destruction but she also would have had to have had a life out there at the end of the world on her Island.

For me one of the saddest parts of her story was that she never met her children as they were born from her neck after she had been decapitated. A painting can be a kind of heaven, the normal rules of life and death don’t apply, we can be with who we want, where we want and be seen and remembered how we want. Medusa would have had a domestic life eating,

drinking, and I imagined gardening, seeing her sisters now and again and in my painting her children too. I wanted to pick a moment she could live in, which is one of my favourite times. In my painting I imagine a dinner party about to start, her children and sisters are gathering food and drinks to bring together and Medusa is catching a moment of quiet as the sun sets before the family descend and the party begins.

I would have loved to have done a portrait of her but the wrong that most needed righting for me was her life needed joy and softness introduced.

Stories are the fundamental teaching tools of a culture, by being entertained you learn the rules and social mores to live by. They are powerful and can be healing or harmful. I think one of the reasons the Medusa story hurts us today is that the idea of being punished and cursed to be alone (which turning people to stone with your eyes would do) feels terrifyingly poignant in a world where we are learning how deeply sexual assault is woven into the fabric of all our lives, wherever you live and whatever you do. And how even our most powerful, iconic, beautiful and influential women have been degraded and then punished for speaking out about it. It is of course no more tragic that this has happened to our movie stars but for us, they are our Medusa’s, the women we all see and learn from the story’s their lives have told.

For our collective healing I think it is important to change the ending of these stories. Stories are not religion, written in an immutable deitiy’s hand once for all time. There are as many versions of a story as there are people to tell it and I’m sure there would have been very many more versions of Medusa’s story than the couple we have from Hesiod and Ovid. Like the dead sea scrolls, maybe one day we will find versions where she triumphed over Perseus and disguised as him continued to live his life, flying off on her own child, Pegasus. Maybe she regrew her body and returned to Sarpedon to live out her life quietly with her sisters. In my imagining, she is with all her loved ones, anticipating their arrival and taking in the sun, her worries are over and she can live in peace on her own Island with eyes that only see the things she loves and only petrify those that would do her harm.

I believe the ability to turn someone to stone is an aspect of the story that is a kind of truth. Women who deeply understand the darker motivations of others can be petrifying to those who would do them wrong or treat them lightly. All it takes for this knowledge to be communicated is a look, I’ve seen it myself and am very happy to never have been on the receiving end.

In the depictions I’ve seen of her in the ancient pottery and from the text, there are some variants that again I’d like to play with more but for this painting I chose her winged, as a beautiful young Greek woman with her mane of snakes and a lot of gold jewellery. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life was a hammered gold Greek diadem, the gold was formed into the most delicate leaves and flowers with bees buzzing around and suspended by gold coils so that it all would have fluttered as the wearer moved, you might not be able to see it, but this is what she’s wearing.

Medusa Family Reunion

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