Mary Rose Deraco
My most recent series, “The Truth is My Name” is a symbolic depiction of the unraveling of truth regarding gender inequity and power that is the backbone of the #Metoo movement. A pervasive culture of male sexual violence against women and decades of hidden truths that bind us to societal norms are coming to the surface. Like many victims of these gender biased culture wars, the events of the last few years brought up dark memories that needed to come to the surface. To witness other woman rise up into their power and have the courage to tell the truth about their abuse, has been the most inspiring time in my artistic life. The end game for my most current series is to ride on this invigorating wave of the consciousness of truth, heal my past through creative expression and to share in the beauty of this collective transformation.
I have always been drawn to shapes of nature and floral figures as a symbol of creative female force. So I sought out to find flower with the most powerful and transformative meaning. In Buddhist tradition, the Lily flower is a symbol of courage and the expression of aggressive female emotions. In Greek mythology, Goddess Hera is said to have created the lily flower in a passionate expression of rage. In many eastern and western religions the lily is a symbol of fertility and resurrection. In some traditions, the lily is believed to have medicinal properties that cure diseases such as depression and toxicity.
The series started two years ago with personal commitment to daily observational writing along with repetitive drawing of the lily figure. I decided to start with charcoal to symbolize the expression of dark pent up emotions. The drawings eventually morphed into loose and explosive paintings that symbolize the unraveling of dark emotion into the beauty of transformation. As survivors continue to come forward and tell their stories, more paintings flow out of me (much like Hera’s expression of rage that rained beauty onto the earth). While creating this intuitive painting series, I feel like I have become one with the lily, its powerful symbolism, its healing nature and its sensual lyrical lines. In borrowing the bold language of the lily flower, to heal and express a collective pain, I feel I have shared a new found collective feminine voice that will heal and transform an era.