Alma y Hueso
Alma y Hueso
This is an illustration of the poem "You Want Me White" by the early 20th Century Argentinian poet Alfonsina Storni. Alfonsina was among the first of well known female poets and feminist activist in Latin America. She wrote many poems concerning female oppression and challenged the double standard held for men and women in society. In this poem, she is basically telling male oppressors to go to hell. She critically looks at the idea of men wanting women to remain pure, white, chaste and moral while men are guilty of the same vices they attack women for. She is attacking the idea that in patriarchal hierarchy the feelings and rights of women do not matter, and by placing the male subject in the wild, running around like Bacchus, she is asking her male readers consider themselves of what they do that is considered immoral before punishing women for the same immoral acts.
I made the illustration a hot pink mostly to convey the overpowering femininity happening in the poem. Pink, to me, is a commanding and energetic color. While pink is also traditionally feminine in our culture, I wanted to use it not as a delicate color, but a color that creates intensity. It also contrasts the green of the nature (meant to be opposing and masculine) that is creeping on the left side. The composition is split with the man and woman on either side-the woman scorned in her domestic setting while the man freely coincides outside in nature. Since my anthology focuses on cultural identity, the man is an Argentinian gaucho (18th and 19th century cowboy) and his wife remains at home while he roams the Pampas. The horses in the illustration mirror the role of the woman as something "domesticated" and used for man's benefit. Except the horses surrounding the woman also can be a subtle interpretation to the medieval myth of the maiden and the unicorn-where chaste, virtuous virgins where used to lure unicorns for their magical properties to again, emphasize on the level of purity men expect women to be.
Words and Illustration by Gabriela Riveros