Fetish and fantasy.
By Nyadzombe Nyampenza
Women’s bodies have often been studied for artworks by men. Fetishization of female body parts has influenced modern day perception of femininity and beauty. James Jali amplifies the male obsession for thick butts with a painting titled ‘’In the bedroom’’.
The title of the work is derived from its setting. The bedroom is an intimate and exclusive space. In the painting a woman sits at the edge of a bed, facing a dressing table. She looks into a mirror with a round shape that mimics her curves. Her reflection gazes back wistfully.
Red curtains at the window signal passion. On the dresser there is a bottle next to a noticeably single wine glass. The bottle of wine is a strategically placed phallic symbol.
The model is large built, but her back view is distorted by perspective. Because of the optical effect, the subject can be seen as a freak. The point of view is intrusive and disturbing.
Conceptually In the Bedroom is an enticing erotic piece. In spirit, Jali has hacked into the subconscious of a predatory, and stalking mindset. It is the uncomfortable truth. This makes the painting worth more than a furtive, awkward glance.