How Feminist Art Was Invented
This poem is inspired largely by Artemisia Gentileschi’s art, life, and my own experiences.
Artemisia, you blessed blank canvases with the green serenity of landscapes, but barricaded bedroom doors by him spoiled undried paintings. Artemisia, I asked you to purify me as St. Catherine, to paint me as Judith. Judith knows of vengeance. Vengeance knows the taste of blood. I know you crave metallic affection. Artemisia, you Temptress. You Thing. You Threat. You Woman in Tassi’s world, you asked for it We asked for it I ask for it. Artemisia, when I came to You, bleary-eyed, Teary-eyed, unable To speak, you Said, babe, This is how feminist art was invented. So I ask you to show me the beauty of pain.
This poem is inspired largely by Artemisia Gentileschi’s art, life, and my own experiences. I wrote the first draft of this poem while attending the Kenyon Review Young Writers Residential Workshop.
Jessica Bakar is a young writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has found a home in creative nonfiction and edits for Polyphony Lit. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Blue Marble Review, Apprentice Writer, Ice Lolly Review, Paper Crane Journal, Aster Lit, Pile Press, and Seaglass Lit, among others. When she isn't writing, Jessica enjoys practicing photography, participating in the "We the People" competitive civics program, and interning at the Asian Art Museum. Jessica hopes to one day move to Lahaina, Hawaiʻi.