Tamara de Lempicka, she comes forth bold

a cold and disturbing beauty through which pierces a formidable being

Auto Journal (1974)

Polish, born in 1898. Tamara de Lempicka belonged to a wealthy family who allowed her to dedicate completely to visual art during her youth. At 15 years old de Lempicka moved to Russia where in a short time she found a husband, the lawyer Tadeus Lempicki. When the Russian Revolution exploded in 1917 and Taudeus was arrested by Bolsheviks, the artist exercised all her charm, richness and diplomacy to free him. And she made it, leaving Russia for London first and later for Paris. For the 3 decades onwards Tamara de Lempicka despite giving birth to a baby fully committed to her works and social life.

Her lifestyle was definetly bohemian, entertaining romantic relationships with both women and men, and her social life was frenetic; Tamara’s circle of friends included Picasso, Cocteau, D’Annunzio and Tyrone Power. De Lempicka had commissions from King Alfonso XIII of Spain, and Queen Elizabeth of Greece, her works were exposed in the major exhibitions of the era all around the western world.

The economic downturns caused by the Great Depression and Second World War had no effect on her works and introits.The interest in her art plunged during the 60s but soared again in the 70s. She died in 1980 as a prominent artist of Art Deco and XIX century in general.

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Comandante Ramona, a life in the field

Vamos vamos vamos, vamos adelante
Para que salgamos en la lucha avante
Porque nuestra patria grita y necesita
De todo el esfuerzo de los zapatistas
Hombres, niños y mujeres

(Himno Zapatista)

Comandante Ramona was an officer of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation,

 the military and social movement born in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas to promote the rights of indigenous people. In particular the indigenous people were asking the government lands with a certain degree of autonomy and to participate in the profits driven by the exploitation on natural resources. Ramona, who in many pictures and videos appears at the side of Sub Comandante Marcos, leader of the Zapatistas took part in the guerrillas of January 1994 that brought the rebels to occupy many towns in Chiapas.

The guerrilla was put down after 12 days and culminated in peace talks with the Mexican government during which Ramona was chosen as the first leader of the Zapatista to begin the talks.  The guerrilla didn’t change much for the indigenous but Zapatistas continued their mission this time going for a non violent approach. Ramona was part of the political branch developed to spread a new conscience among women in the various communities of Chiapas. In particular their objective was to spread what is called the Women’s Revolutionary Law, one of the Revolutionary Laws drafted just before the uprising in 1994. At that time indigenous women were without any political rights lacked of basic education and the right to decide of their destiny.

  1. Women, regardless of their race, creed, color or political affiliation, have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle in any way that their desire and capacity determine.
  2. Women have the right to work and receive a fair salary
  3. Women have the right to decide the number of children they have and care for.
  4. Women have the right to participate in the matters of the community and have charge if they are free and democratically elected
  5. Women and their children have the right to Primary Attention in their health and nutrition
  6. Women have the right to an education
  7. Women have the right to choose their partner and are not obliged to enter into marriage
  8. Women have the right to be free of violence from both relatives and strangers.

Only after 2 years from the guerrillas Ramona underwent a kidney transplant caused by cancer. This illness would not live her alone until death in 2006.  The same year of the operation defying the ban from the authority Comandante set off to the Indigenous Congress, an institution aimed to mediate between the indigenous and the government in Mexico City . Thousands of people put themselves between her and the police thwarting her arrest.  Despite a lifetime fight against cancer, the little woman with a soft voice kept on with her work ended up becoming an icon for Chiapas’ women who would compare her to the Virgin.

Aud, the Deep Minded

Ride of the Valkyrie
Image

As stated in the Gargas the ancient Norse law, in the Vicking society women were working inside the home or attending the farming. They were under the protection of their fathers or husbands and couldn’t own anything apart in the unfortunate case of their husbands’ death.

Women were prohibited from cutting their hair short, dressing male clothes and participating in the government. Anyway they were also very much protected from domestic and outside violence.

Aud, instead, comes out as a powerful matriarchal figure.  The principal sources that tell us about her are two sagas: the Laxdaela, and the Icelanders, which narrate in a mixture of real facts and myth the stories of six generation of individuals descended from the Norwegian emigrants in Iceland and the passage from paganism to Christianity in the land. Aud is cited as one of the earlier settlers in Iceland.Image

Her father was a vicking commander and so were her husband and son.  After the death of these men she had a vicking ship built and left for Iceland with onboard 20 freemen and a number of bondsmen. Over the years she freed many men and gave them lands. When Aud died she was buried in a ship inside a mould honour reserved only for rich and powerful men.