LA LOBA

The Arts Associationin Mackie Street currently have their annual Member’s Exhibition on until 6 February. If you walk into the venue, past the entrance hall into the main exhibition space, and you turn around and look at the wall to your left, in between two still-lives you will see this painting:

Singing the Bones

Minette Visser

Singing the Bones

2013

Oil on Canvas

50 cm x 50 cm

I want to talk about this painting a bit, because I spent most of my December holiday painting it. And because when I googled “La Loba” I came across a whole lot of interesting hits, but not this story:

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A long time ago, just last week, on a full moon night, the wolf woman La Loba wandered the endless desert. She collected fragments of bone as she walked. She walked from sunset until sunrise, gathering every last piece she could find. As the sky lightened she turned towards the rising sun, towards her cave. There, she prepared herself a steaming cup of tea (Earl Grey, I believe, although it might have been a secret family Chai recipe containing just a hint of nutmeg). As her tea cooled down she laid out the bone splinters, arranging them just so. But alas! The skeleton was incomplete. On the next full moon, La Loba set out again. And again on the next full moon. After countless wanderings the skeleton is complete. La Loba sits down on the floor.

La Loba sings.

La Loba sings.

Flesh start to gather around the bones.

La Loba sings.

The flesh fills out.

La Loba sings.

Organs grow. Sinews connect.

La Loba sings.

Skin envelops the flesh. Eyes and ears appear.

La Loba sings.

Fur grows. A wolf rises. She shakes her body from her nose to the tip of her tail. The wolf trots out. She howls at the moon.
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So anyway, the above story is my rendition of the tale told in Women who Run with the Wolves called “Singing the Bones” – just like my painting.

The painting is not a portrait of La Loba, obviously, rather it is an illustration of a version of the story where she is singing, not a wolf, but a frog woman.

Frogs because I am obsessed with them. A woman because, like, Feminism! [do appropriate hand gesture].

The frog woman, after being sung to life, has a strong spine and a yielding body. The spine holds her straight no matter what the circumstances may be. Her body is ready for action, for love, soft and kind and beautiful.

The frog woman is a modern, reborn version of the ancient Birthing Frog Goddess unearthed by Marija Gimbutas.

The bones have been sung and we are now facing the shadows. To the shadows we have banished parts of ourselves that are weak, that are unliked, that don’t fit in, parts of ourselves that are mean and evil. It’s not pleasant work to confront the shadows. But if we don’t the bones would have been sung in vain.

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