Copyright Mary Mihelic, Artist.  All rights reserved.

60” x 44”

Mixed Media on paper

Winter 2014


It is a common practice in Nigeria for the government to arrest the loved ones of suspected criminals when they can’t find them. When the suspect reappears, the loved ones are released.  In early 2012, the Nigerian government rounded up and imprisoned the wives and children of Boko Haram commanders.  This event triggered their retaliation and the kidnappings of schoolgirls.  The Boko Haram waited six months for the release of their loved ones.  It didn’t happen.  So in September of 2012, Boko Haram commander Abubekar Shekau made a threat on YouTube stating, “...since you are now holding our women just wait and see what will happen to your women.”  Women and children are being used as pawns on both sides of this war.  This artwork examines the political environment around the kidnapped girls.  The artwork is “behind bars”.  The bars are made from paper hole-punched and ripped as paper is when torn from a notebook, bridal lace blackened with charcoal, and digital images of the Boko Haram.  The paper used is the artist’s old drawings, what she considers her notes (commenting on how Boko Haram means western education is a sin).