...so not a goddess...
Woven Installation for the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan. Curated by Lisa Gordillo. On view from October 26, 2016 - May 3, 2017
Generous Assistance from Lisa Gordillo, George Hommowum, Terri Frew, Hannah Fisher, Cambry Wade, and Wyatt Hurst. Many thanks to Michigan Technological University for this opportunity and their generous support. Images provided by Michigan Technological University and Adam Johnson / Brockitt Photography.
download a project pdf here.
Full installation: 19' 3" x 44' 6" x 63' 7", Woven, crocheted, stitched and drawn flag tape, twine, yarns, cable, fabric, paillettes, sequins, tube top, beaded trims, leather trims, latex tubing, pompoms, tinsel, lap loom, tape dispenser, medicine bottle with dirt from Maine, dirt packages, crystal pull, found wood, clay, lambskin, ceramics, shackles.
Red as a Rooster, 2016, installed at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, 10' 3" x 33' x 25' 10", Woven, crocheted and stitched yarns, fringe, lap loom, packing tape dispenser, medicine bottle containing dirt from Maine.
Blue Menace, 2016, installed at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, 5' 7" x 30' 5" x 9' 6", Woven and stitched yarn, mylar streamers and muslin.
She Vows, 2016, installed at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, 11' 3" x 16' x 22' 2", Woven, crocheted, drawn yarns, rope, rubber tubing, wood and clay.
Not a goddess
In the mid-twentieth century, archaeologists like James Mellaart believed female figurines like this one represented fertility goddesses. This idea became popular in New Age culture, whose adherents celebrated the idea that ancient peoples were woman-centric and shared a cult of goddess worship. But over the past twenty years, evidence from Çatalhöyük and contemporaneous sites have undermined this interpretation.
Meskell and her colleagues suggest instead that these female figures are likely representations of village elders, respected older women who had a lot of power in the community. She points out that their bodies are not youthful, and their bellies and breasts do not exhibit the roundness of pregnancy or fertility. Instead, their bellies and breasts sag. These are older women, their size possibly intended to convey the accumulation of wisdom—or continued prosperity. Hodder told Ars that the new figurine supports Meskell's interpretation, as it also appears to be an older woman "who has achieved status."