7: Unanswered Questions
walk out of the greyness, into the next room, to find it filled with voices. The
school class I had been warned of. Yet it isn't that bad. They from a circle,
around a clay church formed on a net of metal strings. A guide is leading them
into the inner of the church, underneath the surface of the image. Before I know
it, I am part of the group, I am a pupil, listening to a teacher, I am waiting
to be told.
of the church holds priests and angels, saints and crosses, we are shown, I am
shown. Yet there is more, elements that don't belong, bats, pistols, rats next
to the virgin Mary left devasted, to the tortured Jesus nailed to the cross. The
white of the church, it is spilled by red paint, by red blood.
Later, after the guide has moved on, after the group has gone, I hear Niki's words,
her story, her reality:
Sunday. A church. A holy communion. I am eleven years old. I step towards the
altar with words of love and hate in my heart. Why do You let people hunger and
suffer? - I hate You. - I love You. - I trust You.- there are mysteries I do not
understand. Why do You allow hunger and war? Is the devil stronger than You? Please
forgive me. I am sorry and ask for forgiveness. I throw myself at Your feet.
asker of questions, Niki was, since she was a child. They made her move, those
questions, forced her to leave a Catholic school, then another. They are present
in her work, elements of combined paintings, titles of tableaus, marking the key
moments of her life:
My love why did you go away?
What do you like the most about me?
is the monster - you or me?
this one, spoken as a child: Why isn't the Nana allowed to sit at our desk? The
Nana, the woman with soft curves, her nursemaid from Africa. She let her come
alive again in her sculptures. There she is, taking her place, glowing in color.
There she is, unscarred, unbroken, unconcealed, leading further.
one who looks so unconcerned, so at ease, so harmless - she is an affront in these
times, turning viewpoints upside down. Just like Niki herself, who crosses thresholds
by writing down lines you aren't supposed to put in ink beyond the reign of diaries
or fictional stories. Yet there they are, in yellow and pink and orange colors,
lines formed by ornamental words, pop art posters on first glance, personal pages
on the second. A lists of lovers, forming a tableau, no names there, no faces,
just numbers, comments, curled sublines, rose ranked reflections, their thorns
men loved me, excited me, inspired me.
But I never entirely revealed myself
I remained disguised."
her work that carries so many symbols, colors, motives. That is formed by layers
of meaning, of hints, of signs, carrying connections to ancient history, to native
mythology. Like schemes of dreams some of the figures look, sent from the stars,
messengers from parallel worlds, from times subsided.