60 inches x 46 inches 

Mixed Media on paper

Summer and Fall, 2015


The BBC reported (May 2015) that although hundreds of women and children have been rescued recently, they still have not found any of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls.  That is still true today.  Other girls who have been rescued from the Boko Haram are having a difficult time readjusting.  Many of these girls are pregnant, being taunted, and referred to as “Boko Haram Wives”.  The bullying has caused some girls to leave their hometowns again and rebuild their lives in a place where it is easier to restore their dignity. 

Since all the missing Chibok kidnapped girls have been reportedly married off, this artwork reflects on the meaning of being a housewife.  The art juxtaposes the horror of those forced marriages against Hollywood’s ridiculous depiction of housewives as stars on reality TV.  The text on the left side reads “the real housewives of boko haram”  and it comments on what a housewife has come to mean today.  The art examines the term housewife as it applies to all types of marriages and by doing so, alludes to city employees refusing marriage licenses to any couple they don’t deem appropriate for marriage due to personal religious beliefs.  

The stars symbolize education.  Some are gold.  Some are two-toned, both gold and copper as a metaphor for bullets and being shot atSome have a little black on them and some have gone all black and lost their light and fallen.  The stars allude to the US memorials which honor fallen soldiers.  The names below the stars are the first names of the missing Chibok kidnapped schoolgirls.  Many of the girls have the same name.  (For example, eight of the kidnapped schoolgirls are called Hauwa  so not all the names are repeated).  Forty of the schoolgirls are “unknown” since their parents never formally came forward and reported them missing due to the stigma associated with the kidnappings, so some stars are nameless.

The running girl is in the form of a bell symbolic of a school bell, wedding bell, and church bell tolling.   (Some news agencies are reporting that they believe half the girls are now dead.)  The bell shape also references the bell curve -- as outrage over the kidnapped schoolgirls peaked over a year ago and is on the downward slope. The coil wire is based on a notebook’s coil wire and alludes to bomb wires and some girls being used as suicide bombers.  The light is a bicycle safety light, reminding us of the kinds of things the girls would be doing in a different world.

The edge is made from photos the artist studied while making this artwork -- what she considers her notes.  As shown in Miami below – framed in bridal lace blackened with charcoal. 

All artwork imagery including gold and copper stars are copyright Mary Mihelic, Artist.  2015 All rights reserved.