Rebecca and the Forbidden Fruits

An exhibition dealing generally with women, their bodies, and sexuality- attitudes in Malaysia and what we perceive in the Malaysian media, opens in Penang today.

Pop over at China House (153 Lebuh Pantai in George Town) from 5.30pm.

‘Forbidden Fruit’ Works on Paper comprises 100 pieces of hard work by Penang and Italy-based artist Rebecca Duckett-Wilkinson.

She focussed on all her new works on paper between June and October this year. The exhibition also features fruit and our perception of specific fruit and general knowledge and folklore of them, which have lead the ‘narrative’ for these paintings. 

Rebecca said she has been turning this idea around in a head for a long while but decided to focus and start the work at the end of May.

“Carl Linnaeus, the Father of Taxonomy, who came up with a sexual system for flowering plants and their identification has also inspired this connection between sex and botany. 

“There is a synonymous connection between sex and botany and my thoughts on how men in particular perceive women and girls, censorship, folklore, and the parallels between how women and girls, and the environment, are treated not only in a Malaysian context, but also in that of the wider world. They also refer to the language used in reference to women and environment.”

Of concern to Rebecca particularly, are issues around child marriage, how we value our girls and our environment, sexual harassment, the standard of sex education, the behaviour of local politicians and their attitudes to women, as well as how body trends have been promoting cosmetic surgery to alter female genitalia. The divide that still exists between men and women is also something that continues to worry her.

Her personal thoughts on ageing and menopause are also discussed in her work. 

Rebecca also continues to be inspired by her jungle sprites, her interest in shamanism and jungle spirits. She is also showing for the first time, 4 pieces of work made over 35 years ago while she was an art student at Parsons School of Design in New York, when much of her work was inspired by her interest in anthropology, indigenous peoples and their art and folklore. It was from here that her fantastic jungle spirits sprang into her work and has continued until today. 

The exhibition is a collection of visuals accompanied by lines of poetry & words.

“Girls are seeds

Nurture & nourish.

They grow into mighty trees.”

(This series of black gouache brush unframed drawings with a paper weight of 220g/m2 A4 size 22X33cm are available for sale at the exhibition at @chinahousepenang. They are priced at RM250 each with RM100 from each sale being donated to @wccpenang)

“Very glad to be supporting in a small way, the hard work done by Women’s Centre for Change. They support survivors of domestic violence, child rape, victims of sexual abuse and constantly try to make women and girls more aware of their rights to safety,” says the artist.

(all images courtesy of Rebecca Duckett-Wilkinson)

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