Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Cydra Vaux

Ardhanariswara / Tennis Everyone!

Ardhanariswara / Tennis Everyone!

Cydra Vaux. Ardhanariswara / Tennis Everyone!, 2008.

The front of the sculpture features the Hindu figure of Ardhanarishwara who is half male and half female. The writing below reads:

There is no Jew nor Greek.
There is no Bond nor Free.
There is no Male nor Female.
You are all one in Compassion.

On the back is a woman with a tennis ball for a halo; she embodies the trickster archetype. Orbiting tennis balls reference the moon and its changing phases. The writing below reads:

Burning Her Bra?
She Was Burning Her Tops!
Goodbye Tan Lines, Hello Sunshine!
Goodbye Male Gaze, Hello Carefree Days!

This piece creates a relationship between the spiritual (Ardhanarishwars) and the secular (tennis player). To further highlight the permeable transmission of concepts between these two states, I have positioned the hands of both women in the fear-not and welcome mudras.

Ardhanarishwara represents the spirit of the law that defies logic and like many truths cannot be pinned down by judgment. It is a truth that we sometimes only see for a fleeting second out of the corner of our eye, or a truth that resides deep in our being. It is not logical that a body can be both male and female. And, it is not logical that we can hold in our being seemingly opposite and sometimes conflicting truths, and yet we do, and with great wisdom.

The sculpture comments on how women struggle to enter into the sphere of male privilege. The tennis player has literally and figuratively cut off her femaleness in order to be accepted as equal by the males. Yet, this will never happen. Even with her breasts removed, she will have to “keep her shirt on”. She mocks the law of the land by revealing its absurdity. She is sarcastic, in-your-face-defiant, with the gut wrenching desire for choice and freedom.


mastectomy, cancer, goddess, myth, male gaze, sculpture, bra, India, religion

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Pittsburgh, PA


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