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Portrait of a young girl with curly brown hair. She wears a white lace tank top and two pendant necklaces. Her body is angled to the left with an arm slightly braced in front, preventing full access to her. She stares down viewers with her light brown eyes. Her skin is iridescent with hues of pink, yellow and blue while stark shadows accentuate the planes of her face and collarbones. She is painted to be smooth and soft against the violent and jagged layering of deep red paint in the background. She seems to be glowing from within, pushing the darkness to the outer corners of the painting. A smeared bloody handprint lies just to the left of her head

How Dare You

Sophia Strasburg

Oil on Canvas

From a young age, girls are taught to banish their anger and carry pain in silence; as we reach womanhood, the things people do to us remain unchecked. This self portrait was a way for me to process trauma and release it into a physical object. I rendered my features as soft and whimsical to show that I didn't let myself harden against the violence. I am silent yet unyielding and I face the viewer unafraid. The bloody background represents all that has been done to me and everything I left unsaid, which builds tension against my calm expression to give the sense that I am forever on the verge of opening my mouth and screaming. My power was taken from me on a whim, but through this painting I was able to take it back.