ANC050: Cetacea Vaginae by Zoë Etkin
Forgive the impulse / To fold yourself // Small enough / To fit // Inside everyone’s / Happy
Despite man’s efforts, the mighty whale was never a creature built for captivity. When a moratorium was placed on their wholesale slaughter, attempts were made at the next worst thing: rendering them nothing more than a source of entertainment. Faced with an existence of endlessly circling their aquatic corrals, mysticete and odontocete alike chose to go without food or quicker yet, ram the cement walls confining them until suffering a mortal blow. Such incidents occurred throughout the twentieth century until common sense increasingly prevailed and beings with the second highest brain to body mass ratio on Earth were allowed to once more glide effortlessly through its waters, free to roam wherever instinct took them. Even still, the threat of ensnarement darkens their deep.
In a world just beginning to acknowledge the burden its women carry, Zoë Etkin looks to her sisters of the sea for inspiration in celebrating one’s scale. Her Cetacea Vaginae considers the magnitude of its eponymous animal and calls upon females to revere their own body and the life it supports, their sexuality and the power it holds. Honoring her anatomic proportions and carnal satisfaction, Etkin pushes back against the inherent repression of our purportedly modern society. In its sensual assertiveness, her work confirms the power of simply filling the space others aim to seize. As Another New Calligraphy’s fiftieth release, it is a triumph twice over.