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Maria Da Penha

20 x 20 inches - Mix-media on Canvas

Daffodils come before the swallow dares, and take the winds of March with beauty.

from The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare, 1623

painting of activist Maria da Penha on a torn canvas

In 2021, during the global pandemic, there were reports of surges in domestic violence cases, many fuelled by the stay-home orders. Victims trapped at home with their abusers experienced the pandemic a lot differently than others.

 

Flipping grimly through these articles, I noticed a casual mention about the 15th anniversary of a ‘Maria da Penha Law’ in Brazil.

I found it tough to read Maria’s story even twice, but here's a fighter who spoke, wrote, and repeated her story for nearly 20 years campaigning for her perpetrator to be jailed and for changes in the law, after a double-homicide attempt by her husband left her paraplegic.

black & white painting of Maria da Penha
painting of activist Maria da Penha closeup
black & white painting of Maria da Penha
painting of activist Maria da Penha closeup on torn canvas

To me, Maria's portrait is a symbol of strength and valour, and so I dedicate daffodils in honour of this warrior.

 

Forever associated with spring, the daffodil’s ability to bloom right after the winter makes it a symbol of hope and new beginnings universally.

Daffodils utilise energy stored in their bulbs to produce hundreds of bright trumpet shaped flowers. By the time summer arrives, the flowers drop and there is no evidence that they even existed.

 

But they are not gone forever...

 

The seeds persevere through the harshest winters, until new daffodils emerge to celebrate the arrival of spring.

torn canvas painting daffodials
maria with kids

Maria and her children on their first outing after her separation

maria da penha

Maria, 78, still campaigns tirelessly for the support and rights of domestic violence victims

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