Art Exhibition–Room 15: Artist

I tripped on a panting once and this is the aftermath.

The painting, Paul Gauguin’s When will you marry

She looks like bait taken to a slaughterhouse. She has an idea of what will happen to her. She is staring at an open cage, waiting for the hand to come down. The woman behind knows her turn will come but it’s not now. She’s just not first in the line.

They are beautifully dressed. That’s what hope feels like. Their faces don’t purpose the serenity around them. Instead, it’s a face that’s accumulated history. They may not have left that spot at all and it looks like they have seen the whole world. A woman’s wanderlust is tenderness.

There is a relaxation in their posture despite knowing what is going to happen of them. To them. While the one in the front tucks away her fears into folds of demurity, the one at the back won’t hesitate to take out her husband. And then point to where she buried the corpse.

No necklaces. Just that one flower to make them complete. Whole. The fragrance of the unknown.

There’s two guys at the back whose attitude smears into who gives a fuck; where’s that rabbit I shot? Man’s search for meaning is in routine.

Back to the ladies. It feels like they are both judging the creep who will be making assumptions about their lives and writing about them 500 years later. The one thing the two women could have never guessed was that they’d one day be worth two hundred million dollars. So what’s your legacy?

Everything that needs to be said is declared through their eyes. The eyes have become the mouth of the painting. Their mouths shut, tightly as if to say, this isn’t a painting. It’s the mist making space for the sun and the other way around. This is everything you don’t see.

It’s her legs your eyes skid to. Hands a secret, her legs, as her eyes narrate. Hard-working, receptive, dependable. Foodie. Something vulnerable about the entire thing. Uncomfortable. Unsure. Understanding.

Did the two women get a chance to enjoy the space behind them? Or were they constantly wondering who’d come to get them? It seems like they have warded off marriage long enough and they are the only two left in the world, alone in each other’s company. No wonder they look so beautiful, smoothed out for the impending constellation of scars.

The lipstick is the best part of the whole painting. It says, simply, okay.

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