On a rainy night in downtown Los Angles, I was invited to the studio of Amanda Sage, a Visionary artist who shows with the likes of Alex Grey and Robert Venosa. We ascend in an old elevator to a warm nook of this dilapidated high-rise where she leads me to a corner inside her studio. Beyond the other colorful paintings, Amanda pulls something out that had been tucked away. Unrolling the large linen surface, there was something quite unlike any of her other spiritual, psychedelic work. This was something frightening and exhilarating. Facing me was a woman wide-eyed and mouth open in a cry of power. While I have seen many paintings, I had never seen anything like this. The woman depicted was raising her skirt in both hands to reveal her bareness. From her vagina emits an egg descending toward a table of a corporate board. Thousands of people march forth from either side of her feet, from the left issue forth armed military; from the right, are the working people evacuating the polluted, industrialized world. The lightning of life issuing from the vagina of this great woman provides the first green of new life in this dying world.
CAB: What is the title and meaning behind this work?
AS: The painting is titled ‘ANA-SUROMAI’ which quite literally means ‘to lift the skirt’ derived from the Greek language. This painting is an outcry, an ultimatum, a visual denouncement of the system that has brought our world to a state of chaos with an ever widening gap between those that make decisions and those that are subject to those decisions. It is a wake-up call to humanity. Also known as Anasyrma or plural: Anasyrmata; women have been lifting their skirts for centuries to ward off evil and enhance fertility. This symbolic act is also found in mythologies of various cultures all over the world, and more specifically in those of ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia, Ireland, Africa, Indonesia and Japan.
It is said that the evil averting gesture of women individually or collectively exposing their genitalia has the power to shame & defeat an advancing army. The act of revealing publicly the hidden core of womanhood initiates a process of change that operates on a world scale, as well as, on an individual level.
CAB: Why did this painting require six years?
AS: It took time for me to find the right place to unveil this piece, as well as, be ready to unveil myself before the world… not to mention that I needed to be very clear about why I would lift my skirt. This painting is a rite of passage for me; it symbolizes me blatantly standing up for what I believe. I did not paint this to sell it; I painted it because I had to.
I chose to unveil this painting at the 2011 Burning Man Festival in the Nevada Desert. The theme was ‘Rites of Passage’, and I brought a scaled reproduction of the painting. It