Fire-laced, Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 13', 2019
Two abstracted figures are interconnected, transformed through fire, as they float over an ambiguous map of red lines, pulled from a real map oil pipelines. The figure on the right is sourced from an Orientalist photograph of an idealized odalisque, but here she hangs in space like a fiery invaded ghost. The figure on the left morphs into a burning tree with the word for “shame” in Arabic repeated like roots or vines under her feet. Exploitation of resources and land is mirrored in the enflamed female figures.
About the Artist
Katherine Toukhy is a Brooklyn-based visual artist. She makes mixed media figurative works for wall installations, drawings, and animations. As a woman of the Egyptian diaspora, she fluidly combines historical, subjective, and archetypal imagery to conjure a spirit of liberation.
Call to Action
I want you to consider gendered violence and militarism in relationship to environmental justice. Exploitation of land and resources works in tandem with the direct assault of womxn's rights and bodily autonomy. Rape of lands and bodies go hand in hand, as we see in the MMIW (missing murdered indigenous women) tragedy. The pattern can be seen domestically and in our foreign policy around the globe.
My work starts from an emotional perception of my own and others' bodies, which intuitively led me to create figures-becoming-landscapes. The connection between our bodies and the living world around us is deeply felt; and so violations on either front are also deeply felt. There is an empathic understanding of a burning rainforest or an oil spill, like the earth is part of us. My sense of interconnectedness with the Earth makes climate change very personal. In addition, as a daughter of Egyptian immigrants, my connection to North Africa and the Arab world runs deep and shapes my critique of foreign invasions and interference for oil which exacerbate human rights violations there.
I hope to amplify the message that assault to the Earth reflects assault to womxn's bodies, and to inspire a critique of foreign and domestic policies through an ecofeminist lens. A world view which justifies continuous extraction from the Earth also justifies continuous extraction from our bodies- whether foreign or domestic, plant or animal. Images that connect us to the transformative power of nature/ the female body can remind us of our holistic connection to the Earth and the inherent power of aligning ourselves with it.
In Their Own Words