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The Marks in the Rocks - Tracie Peisley - Female Cave Painting
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Female cave painting

The Marks in the Rocks

Scientists have studied the hands in early cave paintings in France and Spain, they discovered from the finger size and proportions that 3/4 were by women. It seems such an early and primitive urge to paint on the wall.

While in Greece I had the work of Ana Mendieta in mind. I thought of many of her artworks and installations using blood. She seemed to want to evidence the existence of horrific acts and a once-living person drained of their lifeblood. I thought also of sacred places and rituals and how these have shaped our quests, help us to focus.

At Aliki, a large marble rock seemed to incite expression. Using red pigment, I mixed a paste and painted outstretched arms on the rock. I felt I was defacing the natural environment and washed it off soon after. But before I washed it I was witnessed by my group and some somewhat disgruntled tourists.

Evidence of an act, using a substitute for blood, drawing a symbol of… longing? Homage to Ana Mendieta and all the women who have experienced domestic violence? Painted then cleaned. And as I cleaned it the water was dark in the rock making the arms even more dramatic. I existed here, transgressed here. Made a mark to the foremothers of time and then moved on. And when I do these things or other women do, what message then do we send out about women?