Photo : Jean Marc Zerafa
Close observation of the relevant artefacts held by Heritage Malta and in other collections around the world led Enrique to believe that Neolithic women had a rather broad understanding of their body types and life cycles. This is possibly one reason why there are many headless figures and plenty more heads. Where the specific heads positioned on the body figures?
A particular example of these figures represent women going through pregnancy. On close inspection, it is evident that some of the surviving figures show different stages and specific aspects of pregnancy; the way their hands are placed and their sitting posture, slouching completely, drawing themselves upwards, accentuating the curve of the back as far as possible, distributing their entire body weight on both hips.
Only women who have experienced such things in their own bodies can pass on this level of detailed information through art. The hard evidence is greater than what she’s presenting here. In this first phase of her artistic creation based on this concept, she focused on some of the ways she believes that prehistoric women expressed themselves artistically while teaching others in their society about their life experiences as women.
In Ġismi the artist shows the study of her body changing every month during a period of 5 monthly cycles. The structure is shaped Enrique’s own body while experiencing corporal cycles that make her physical appearance change on a periodic basis. The piece is built with layers of Plexi emulating the lines found on some prehistoric figures, which possibly symbolise months.
This work is also featured in a performance entitled Not Venus captured as a video art piece.
Watch Video of Ġismi in PreHerstory, during the exhibition of Art+Feminism at Spazju Kreattiv, Malta.
This work is a companion piece to Ġisimna, which externalises the introspective approach towards other themes across the Preherstory series.