Art of Woman

Tamara - The Centrury Project

Frank Cordelle has kindly given me permission to show a photo from The Century Project that relates to my theme. All of the women who pose for Frank Cordelle choose their own setting. Tamara chose to express this part of her life in this way without any distractions. Frank’s high view-point makes her look smaller and gives her some vulnerability, yet her direct look shows strength, dignity and is completely devoid of shame. Tamara’s poem is beautiful and expresses heart aspects of menstruation that many women feel but do not know how to express. Thank you for your boldness Tamara.

Menstruation is a significant part of most women’s lives and our society tries to ignore it. There are few places where a woman can express how she feels about her periods. This site is one place where women’s expression is welcome. Send me your ideas, images, favourite sites, favourite books and I will post your comments, with your permission, of course.

The photo and poem below was published in the book: "Bodies and Souls: The Century Project" copyright © 2009 Frank Cordelle.

“The moon,
like a prospective grandmother,
keeps time.

In an empty womb,
I create space
for process.

Pale yolk
runs from me,
malnourished and alone.

All that is mine
breaks
apart
in grief

becoming
rich pulp,
the ripe fruit
of my most internal decomposition.

It gathers like angry water

beating blood

against
flush,
tender walls,
crashing comfort,
painfully pulsing

out of me.

It flows wide
spilling, furiously,
red
onto the altar of my soul,

to which I bow in need of You
in body,
in blood.”

Tamara

The Century Project

Recently, during research for my art, I saw the very powerful photography of Frank Cordelle.

Frank Cordelle has created a photography exhibition called “The Century Project”. He has photographed girls and women from birth to 98 years of age. These are women who have faced struggles and problems with their bodies. Their stories, in their own words, accompany the photographs. Some of the stories are confronting, some are angry, some are sad, some are joyful, some are a triumph. All of the stories are intimate person experiences.

Frank has photographed the women in the nude to express their vulnerability and their humanity. Cloths can enhance some parts of the body and hide parts of the body we find difficult for various reasons. Cloths express culture, social status, occupation and wealth. These nude images cut through much cultural clutter and gets past assumptions and prejudices to see the real woman underneath. Sometimes clothes hide things so well that health issues are not address properly and the woman does not even know what is within the normal range for a female for her age.

This project is extremely important. Even healthy women struggle with body image because the media display so many ‘perfect’ images of women’s bodies all around us. When women have health and other body image problems, they can feel that they are inferior somehow. The shame some women feel about their bodies can restrict and limit their lives. For example, many women limit their participation in sports, especially swimming. These limitations are unnecessary, often inconvenient and in some cases even harmful.

The Century Project gives women dignity and a voice. It has changed the lives of some women who have felt alone, disregarded, afraid and ashamed of their struggles. This project has given many women the courage to treat their bodies with respect and inspired some women to get the medical care they deserve.

The Century Project is beautiful and has been shown in 63 colleges around the USA and has been viewed by thousands of people.

You can obtain your own personal copy of the exhibition in a book called “Bodies and Souls”.