Life 2 – Be The Change You Want

(Applique, Stitch, paint. Sold USA)


The words on this quilt are by Jean-Jaques Rousseau, and are from Emile (1762) – his seminal work on education. He wrote…

“Men and women are made for each other, but their mutual dependence is not equal. We could survive without them better than they could without us. They are dependent on our feelings, on the price we put on their merits, on the value we set on their attractions and on their virtues. Thus women’s entire education should be planned in relation to men. To please men, to be useful to them, to win their love and respect, to raise them as children, to care for them as adults, counsel and console them make their lives sweet and pleasant”

Whilst Rousseau was writing in 1762, I couldn’t bear the injustice of his words, so
the imagery on the quilt is about breaking free from the chains of convention, and making choices. Striding forwards free and unfettered.

“Be The Change You Want” invites you to reflect on some of the chains you might unknowingly have – we all have. So the imagery is about some of the many, many, things that bind us; perhaps a simple thing like smoking, (cigarettes) eating too much or the wrong things, weight gain, (chocolate) or to deeper fears about life; gender fluidity, (non-binary, gay, lesbian, bisexual) fear of physical and mental hurt, of going out alone, (rape alarm/whistle), loss of memory or being forgotten, (forget me nots) lack of money and the need to succeed in a career, business etc, (paper money, credit card) the need to perform to a set vision of what a woman should be, and the pressure to have sex/children, (contraceptive pills, wedding ring) and being left “on the shelf”, loss of loved ones and their death and is there an afterlife and a God; there’s a huge list of these norms and fears. I was asking the viewer to consider the liberation that comes with breaking free and the quilt became a statement on the evolution of societal norms and the continuous and never ending journey towards equality and understanding. I was hoping to portray the idea that one’s worth, capabilities, happiness and destiny should not be anchored to another’s perception or societal dictations.

I think we should all try to challenge and transcend outdated notions and to shatter conventional expectations that limit individuals particularly on gender, and to try an honour individuality and to show the courage of walking alone. We need to be understanding.






Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.