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

Which Church

Which Church

Cydra Vaux. Which Church, 2008.

Looking up at the spire of an old church, I was reminded of a witch’s hat. Witches, or wise women, were the ones who gave medicine to ease labor pains during child birth.

The front of this sculpture, the church, represents the solar or masculine aspects of fanatical and rigid religious systems. The back shows the lunar or feminine traits of humanity that have survived the genocide of gender. The church and the witch are joined together to reference the yin-yang’s light and dark portions that compose a complete circle. Conversely, Which Church speaks to conflicting ideas that suffocate one other with their bound proximity. The dichotomy of these two ideas: that of the yin-yang that forms a whole, and that of two opposites bound together in a prison of suffocation, paradoxically exist side by side.

I use pregnancy as metaphor for life and potential that is ready to burst forth into consciousness. I also use pregnancy to confront the “male gaze.” Rarely do male artists depict pregnant women. Instead, they often image women as sexual beings, or appeal to the virginal archetype. When a woman is pregnant she is no longer seen as an object of desire by other men who strive to perpetuate their own genetic line.

When I was a young girl I was captivated by the story of King Arthur’s daughter Burd Ellen. The Warlock Merlin explains that “because she went round the church windershins—opposite to the sun, she is now in the dark Tower of Elfland.” The story concludes “they reached home safely and were welcomed with great joy by fair Gwenevera, their queen mother. And never again did Burd Ellen go round the church or churchyard windershins.” (Katharine Gibson, 1901, pg. 59-68). Windershins means counterclockwise or against the sun. When we go against the sun, or against the Son of God, as expressed in rigid dogma, and turn windershins, we delight in what is right brained, lunar, and we discover the feminine, we see the witch behind the church. We see alongside the Son of God, the Daughter of the Divine, and we know that it is good.


witch, sculpture, religion, yin-yang, pregnancy, architecture, women's history

Leaving Perdah and the Palace of WindThe Holy Act of CleansingCancan Girls: Baubo and DemeterArdhanariswara / Tennis Everyone!Which ChurchCreation StoryJana (goddess of the past and future)

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Pittsburgh, PA


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