Atlas Is a Woman is a series of works that I have begun in response to the ongoing revelations about the daily violence perpetrated against women and children in South Africa. Women, and particularly mothers, like Atlas in the Greek myth, carry the weight of the world on their shoulders because they are the protectors of our most vulnerable. These modern day Atlas’s are burdened, bend over, and straddle many roles, but they are survivors who keep the world and our society held together.
Grace Cross (b. Harare, Zimbabwe 1988) is a material painter who weaves symbols that represent questions about motherhood, about faith, about assumed gender roles in the domestic sphere, about archaeology and the haunting of history. Her recent solo exhibition with Smith Studio, Mother is a Drum, was a celebration of new motherhood, held over this year’s Women’s Month. She completed her MFA at the University of Illinois at Chicago (2016) and holds a BAHons in English Literature, UCT (2011) and a BFA from Michaelis School of Fine Art (2010). Cross lives and works in Cape Town as a practicing mother and artist.