Majak Bredell Alter Images I | | Art in South Africa
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Alter Images I

My many images of the divine female and of female figures in devotional postures, are my reaction to the absence of goddess from all official ideas about god for over two millennia. I came to this work through reading mythology and psychology with their symbolism and archetypes. New York City, where I lived between 1981 and 2004, is a fecund landscape of booksellers, museums and libraries. My fascination with sacred art — both pagan and Christian — and the proximity of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with its access to the objects and images that attest to humankind's long and varied relationship with the sacred — influenced both my work and my thinking. If the organizing religious principle was an image of a woman giving birth rather than a man martyred on a cross, would our relationship to the body have been different, and would misogyny have been able to darken women's reflection of the sacred?

Whether we are religious today or not, attitudes about gender and the body that were shaped by the Judeo-Christian tradition, reside consciously or unconsciously in us all. For me, goddess is relevant as a symbol of diversity and balance — a symbol that allows us to re-weave the fabric of women's history and reconnect the sacred to the body.

The body of work that grew out of this questioning and exploration took on the overarching title of Post-Christian Alter Images — deliberately and simultaneously marking the notion of other alternatives (alter) and a site of worship (altar).

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