To what extent do stereotypes confine us?

To what extent do stereotypes confine us?

Lorna Stubbs Davies

The story of Baubo is one from Eleusinian mythology of ancient Greece. As legend has it, the goddess Demeter was in mourning over the loss of her daughter to the underworld. At a party hosted by a king, Baubo, another Goddess, shared a few lewd jokes with Demeter - making humorous, risque remarks. Demeter began to smile. Then Baubo suddenly lifts her skirt to reveal her naked genitals. This action is so surprising, outlandish and ridiculous, Demeter laughs and is lifted from her depression. 

Since this tale, Baubo has been depicted in a variety of ways, many of which serve to mock the goddess and to condemn her for her bawdy actions. Terracotta pots show the image of a woman reduced to merely a pair of legs and a face located just above the vaginal area. The proximity of the mouth and the genitals is a deliberate association made between freed verbal expression of a female character and her sexual deviance. The version of Baubo I’ve created shows her knowingly looking a little exasperated with the image she has been reduced to, when all she wanted to do was to cheer up a friend. 

Felt and thread, 30cm x 10cm


The John Byrne Award