Ayana Friedman - Artist's statement

My art deals with a variety social issues. Among the themes I address are women’s issues, the status of the elderly in society, problems of identity, and who is the “other” – those that society tries to “bend” to fit the norm.

The woman in my art always struggling to free themselves from limits. In the “Aguna” series, the female figure appears in several situations that have a common denominator – a struggle between the desire to cling to the mold – symbolized by a white bridal dress, protecting and isolating her like a covering blanket – but also a kind of straitjacket and desire to break out of it. the image in the left panel shows the woman holding the back of her dress over her like a little girl playing shy, trying to cover herself, oblivious to her fact that by doing so, she reveals her back. the light that shines through the part of the dress around her head gives her the halo of a saint. the central panel of the triptych shows her completely enveloped by the wedding dress, with two possibilities – hiding and protected by it, or feeling trapped and trying to pull it off. The third panel again reflects a dually: protecting the head, while one hand is already out of the sleeve, and the other, holding tightly onto the dress, not wanting to let go.

The series has two main colors – red and white. The red simultaneously symbolizes sensuality and danger, and the white, purity. These colors appear in another theme in works that followed the Aguna series, showing a woman in a straightjacket. Again, the woman is struggling to free herself from a situation that had been forced on her.

All the women my work are like the phoenix, falling and rising again, struggling to improve their lives.