Ibiyinka Alao

The Creation of Woman

Ca. 1997
16" x 12"
Tempera

"The Creation of Woman" is inspired from the Biblical account of the creation of woman from the man's rib. In this painting, the man of many faces holds the staff that God placed in his hands to name the animals and harvests of creation. The woman is seen metamorphosing from his ribs as an illusion of his second leg. The colors of life are like a fruitful wall in the Garden of Eden. The many faces of Man represent the many natures and conditions of humanity that cannot be predicted. This is something that amazed the angels: "Here is a creature like us — but he has the free will to choose between right and wrong!" The woman is formed staring at her own reflection — she is aware of herself, she has emotions, and is first to realize she is naked upon eating the forbidden fruit. In the earliest times of which history tells us, we did not make use of a mirror or photographs to look at ourselves. Instead, a person's self-image was formed according to what others told him about his appearance or character. You were dependent on society to form this image of yourself because you affected others — and they would tell you if you misbehaved or pleased them. This is how you would learn about your nature. In modern society, man apportions a character to himself: he looks at the "Man in the Mirror" and decides to become what pleases his own ego. He changes his image and he changes his persona at will. He ignores the opinions and its effect on others. He believes he "creates" himself when he is really a creation in the image of God.

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