Extra Credit- Rebecca Belmore in regards to the work “Fringe”


I researched many artists for my ARTS 1020 class a while back in the semester in regards to those who portrayed identity in their work.  Rebecca Belmore in particular, caught my artsy fartsy analytical thought process.  The work that initially drew me in was “Fringe” which was an Inkjet print on paper, 63 inches long by 21 inches high.  I was excited to hear Kira bring up this work in lecture recently considering my new knowledge of its existence.  In class we talked about Belmore’s identity in regards to her cultural background.  I learned that much of Belmore’s work expresses the conflict between the culture she was born into and the culture that was forced upon her.  In this piece, she is allowing the viewer inside her perspective of the violence against First Nations women.

This photograph portrays a naked woman lying with her back towards the viewer, a sheet draped over the butt and thigh area.  The naked body is such a romantic way of portraying identity in itself.  It just is what it is; there is no hiding anything.  Also the way one’s naked body is portrayed can show how one chooses to identify them self as well.  Because Belmore covers her bottom half, it makes me feel like she is insecure with being completely naked for the public eye to see.  The large wound on her back from the upper right shoulder, down past the sheet, with beads strung delicately from it, to appear as blood, indicates a tough battle that she and her people have dealt with for a long time.  I also learned that the beads refer to a piece of her heritage.  The image is so graphic and detailed it makes me, as a viewer almost feel a connection to it emotionally and physically.  Staring at it for a while makes me able to feel the pain going across my back.  Through this powerful piece, she portrays the pain in her life that she has overcome, but will always be apart of her.

In my opinion, this is a beautiful image, but at the same time striking.  The atmosphere around Belmore, I feel aids in the total composition.  Because the wall is dull and the sheet that covers her and the table are white, it doesn’t draw attention away from the body.  The viewer’s eye has no choice but to focus straight to the point of the image.  I love the detail of the wound especially.  From far away it looks as if her back was split diagonally in two and then sewn back together.  The flesh looks scarred and swollen up.  The drips look like real blood.  I was shocked to find that there were actually strings of fishing wire hanging down, strung with red beads.

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