2015 Copyright Mary Mihelic, Artist.  All rights reserved.

The artwork is based on a love letter found in one of the kidnapped schoolgirl’s notebooks in which she wrote, “When I’m away from you, I’m still with you.  When my eyes are closed, I could still see you. When I’m awake, I still dream of you.  When I feel, I have everything.  I still need you and no matter what, I will always love you.”   So this artwork reflects on this schoolgirl’s romanticized young love and juxtaposes that against what has been reported to have happened to her and so many of the girls including rape, pregnancy and forced marriages.  Some of the girls have been used as suicide bombers.  Other have been radicalized. 

The artist collaged the photos she studied while making the artwork with her old discarded drawings (her notes) and cut them to symbolize a notebook paper’s ripped edge.  The wire is symbolic of notebook wires and bomb wires.  The star pin on the mask is two-toned like bullets symbolizing education and being shot at.  The other star pins are made from bicycle LED lights as a metpahor for what the schoolgirls should be doing.  The mask references everything from the the Boko Haram and the Guerrilla Girls to superheroes and Pussy Riot.  (In some countries, even the people seen arresting suspected ISIL members are now wearing masks.)

The imagery on the photo-collage on the side alludes to gargoyles; each has been given the face a someone who was harmed by this war.  (These are also images the artist studied while making the artwork.)  The gargoyle builds on the history of the Church and how it used gargoyles to illustrate evil.   The artwork asks us what all this evil did to this schoolgirl’s love. 

Shown above framed in bridal lace blackened with charcoal, running shoelaces, old drawings cut like the edges of notebook paper and photo-collages. 

62” x 44”

Mixed Media, wire, gold and copper leaf star pins, and photo-collage on paper

Fall 2015