In the fantasy of western artists exists the idea of a mysterious place called The Orient, which stretches from Turkey across the Middle East, to China and Japan. It has always fascinated artists who envision a place where decadence, opulence and sexuality are allowed to flourish. The opium den becomes one with the harem, creating a place that exists only in the imagination. I wanted to enter this world and, like you, enjoy the fantasy of a dark and mysterious place, while at the same time challenging and questioning its very existence.
The Rose and The Cocoon deal with the restrictions many societies place on young women. The Cocoon depicts the dormant and safe state out of which a young girl emerges as she blossoms into a woman. In The Rose, the girl is deflowering then devouring the rose and in the process, choking on it. To me the rose represents the flowery words one is forced as a woman to speak, the required tone of voice, the coquettish giggles, all masking what one really wants to say or do. I placed these images in the Opium Den series since they also deal with a conflict between fantasy and reality.