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A Woman's Secret Heart, 2021

Mixed media on cotton rough paper, mounted on museum foamboard, paper size: 140 x 100 cm / 55.1 x 39.4 in.

Questions about identity, personhood, self, spirit, and love in contrast with the habitual paradigm that “every single human is the product of a nine-month period of pregnancy” are the topic of my focus, not just an exploration adjacent to or involved in feminist views on maternity. (Excerpt from Notebooks, January 2020— A. F.)

Is there anything that can ever be excluded or omitted when we give birth to our creations? When love and pain unfold together, is there a way to divide them and depict just one of them? Can anything be left outside, uncontained, or ruled out? I burned my arm while I was stretching out the love to fit the paper, and I saw the face of pain spreading over it, blending with my loving thoughts. (Excerpt from Notebooks, Give Me a Sponge, 2020— A. F.)

I painted love, wanting to exclude the pain and keep only love, but I carried both within me. Why did I burn my hand, God?" I asked. I burned it because I wanted to exclude pain from the world, but my mind was unable to support such an expansive notion of love—a love that would eradicate all pain. And instead, I burned myself—I wanted to punish myself for "failing." A Woman's Secret Heart is my notion of love—wanting to erase the idea of pain from its birth and keeping only joy and union in love. (Excerpt from Notebooks, Burn, 2021 — A. F.)

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