My Sister's Hand in Mine
Saudi sisters Tala and Rotana Farea were found bound together with duct tape, face to face, drowned in the Hudson River on October 24th, 2018. There is no information about how they died, although police say there were no signs of trauma, nor any indication they might have jumped from a bridge. The sisters had alleged abuse by family members and had run away from home in Virginia, apparently spending a few months running up credit card debt in Manhattan and staying at the Nickerbocker Hotel. Their mother had suggested after they were found that the Saudi embassy had called and told her that they had applied for asylum and that the family should return to Saudi Arabia at once. The Saudi embassy denies this. In light of the recent assassination of the journalist Jamal Kashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the incident was particularly haunting.
This story made me think about abuse and the erasure of women, and how the Trump regime has emboldened other autocratic regimes to control their citizens from afar and even murder them in foreign countries. Abuses against free speech and women are clearly tolerated by the current US government.
The painting depicts the letters of their names entwined, in Arabic, and is part of my series using calligraphy and text to think about violence, erasure and speech.
Acrylic on wooden panel, 8" x 10"