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“And they were Naked and Unashamed” explores nudity, the female experience and religion

Senior Timela Crutcher stands with a piece from her upcoming thesis presentation which will be titled “And they were Naked and Unashamed.” Photo by Halle Hill.

Senior Timela Crutcher stands with a piece from her upcoming thesis presentation which will be titled “And they were Naked and Unashamed.” Photo by Halle Hill.

Senior art major Timela Crutcher is completing her senior project, entitled, “And they were Naked and Unashamed.” Her project is a re-interpretation of the Genesis narrative, specifically the accounts of human nudity and the female experience within Genesis 2:25.

“I am inspired by the female body. I like the way it looks,” Crutcher said. Her artwork focuses on the inherited attitudes regarding nudity and female sexuality, specifically within the context of religion.

“The female body is both adored and regulated by culture and religion. I wanted to portray the beauty of nudity through my mind’s depiction of the Garden of Eden,” Crutcher said. “Before [Adam and Eve in the narrative] ate of the fruit, nudity was not looked down upon. They were naked before God and proud. I want to bring to light what so many people try to hide.”

Crutcher’s portraits of women focus on nudity as a way of expressing power and dominance. Even within cliché contexts of women and domesticity, she believes that there is power within women’s ability to bear children, raise them and create a household.

Many of the women within Crutcher’s work are in sexualized positions holding seductive gazes. Rather than succumbing to the sexualized positions, she reclaims theses positions, depicting her women as confident, alluring and holy.

Her portraits are in a monochromatic style, and they are filled with vivid colors and life-like depictions. Each piece has a scripture attached to them that juxtaposes the position of the women. This is Crutcher’s attempt to call her audience into a questioning spirit, reimagining the relation between nudity, womanhood and divinity.

Crutcher, a student of color herself, has a theme of the women in her portraits being of color too. In her portrait, “Red Woman” you see a beautiful black women with thick, curled hair standing naturally with her arms tied above her head in bondage. Her body looks strong, elegant and sensual.

Her eyes lock with the viewer but instead of sorrow, it looks as if they are aflame and fueled with power. Even under oppression, black women radiate allure and power in Crutcher’s perspective. She thanks her professor, Carl Gombert for his support.

“He told me to do whatever I wanted,” Crutcher said.

So she did.

“This thesis was a [simple] idea in my mind. I did not know, nor was I prepared for the journey I was about to embark,” Crutcher said. “It made me learn a lot about myself and how I judge things and people. How I perceive situations and how I see myself.”

Crutcher, a bright and enthusiastic face on campus, truly shows her depth and her ponderings of religion and identity. Watching her as she explained her process, I was softened by her pride regarding her work. It was inspiring to see a fellow student and a close friend passionate about her work.

It seems as if Crutcher’s work soothes her. Her demeanor changed into something serene and soft, and it was apparent that her work brings meaning and peace into her life and in her heart as she questions the very things her thesis depicts—life, humanity, identify and womanhood.

One Comment

  1. Remarkable!! I would have expected no less. Congratulations for creating and sharing your stunning vision.

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