Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Siona Benjamin

Finding Home#74 Lilith (Fereshteh)

Finding Home#74 Lilith (Fereshteh)

Siona Benjamin. Finding Home#74 Lilith (Fereshteh), 2005–2005.

Based on Jewish Midrashic literature and legends, the character Lilith is identified as the “first Eve,” who was created from the earth at the same time as Adam. She was unwilling to forego her equality with Adam and demanded sexual equality. Rebuffed by Adam, she took her case to God, who responded to her seductive powers by revealing His divine name. Speaking His name out loud, she earned her ticket out of “Pardes” or Paradise and into eternal exile. Thus, Lilith has been called and has represented a mother of demons, slayer of newborns, corruption, indulgence, the serpent in the Garden of Eden and the seductress of men.

Lilith has made a return in feminist history many a time as an symbolic icon who represents the oppressed, as a goddess and as an example of female strength, power and mystery.

The inspiration for the Lilith series came from Roy Lichtenstein, the pop artist, combined with the drama of the Indian Amar Chitra Katha comics. Indian/Persian miniatures, Jewish and Christian illuminated manuscripts also creep into parts of the painting style. The blond heroine in Lichtenstein’s paintings has been recast as a blue maiden. In “A Thousand of Years,” Lilith dons symbols from many faiths. The snake armband perhaps symbolizing Hinduism, the head covering turns into a Tallit (Jewish prayer shawl), the Hamsa or is it the hand of Fatima, her bullet wound or is it a stigmata?

The character of Lilith attracted me as I think she is ideal in portraying the heroine in this series of works. Bringing her forth to today she becomes the woman targeted, the sacrificing mother, the mourning war widow, the brave woman soldier, the violated rape victim in war. Many refugees and victims of wars continue to be civilian women and children. Non-stop war will destroy world economy. Lilith cries out at this injustice after “A Thousand of Years…of waiting” She asks, where is peace, justice, freedom and equality?



Finding Home#89 Vashti (Fereshteh)Finding Home #56 ZakhmFinding Home#79 Lilith (Fereshteh)Finding Home#91 Esther (Fereshteh)Finding Home#94 Ishmael (Fereshteh)Finding Home#74 Lilith (Fereshteh)Finding Home#75 Lilith (Fereshteh)

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