However when one remembers that edwina is a

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significantly to the Martha Cook Building. However, when one remembers that Edwina is a representation of the intellectual, intercultural woman, another interpretation of Edwina’s many hearts becomes apparent. One of the most common characteristics that is claimed to be more abundant in women is the ability to love. Edwina’s skirt draped with many gold hearts seems to be a physical representation of this ability, and the fact that the hearts themselves are shaped in 24 karat gold leaf themselves further pushes this interpretation - gold is a valuable metal, a symbol of what is important - and something that is gilded and made with gold emphasizes that an intellectual woman has a literal heart of gold . Another significant interpretation of Edwina’s many hearts relates to their importance to the artist herself. The artist, Edwina Jaques, suffered from heart abnormalities as a child and her life-saving surgery was performed successfully at the University of Michigan hospital - so to the artist, the University was literally close to her heart. The golden hearts are not the only parts of Edwina that are emphasized with gold - notably, Edwina’s face and hands are coated also in 24 karat gold. The artist has stated that Edwina is a representation of what it means to be a successful, global-focused woman at the University of Michigan. This helps when interpreting the purpose of Edwina’s hands and face being gold plated - one purpose that comes to mind is that historically, women have always been valued for the work of their faces and hands - and not for the work of their minds. For example, the education of a woman in the past consisted of learning conversational topics, sewing, housework, and other ‘gentle’ pursuits. For these purposes, the parts of the woman most valued were her face with which to smile, look pleasant, and make conversation, and her hands to do housework, sewing, embroidery, laundry, etc. This physical gilding (rather than solid gold) of the
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  • Fall '09
  • DeCourcy
  • Gilding, Edwina Jaques, Close Reading of the Body of Edwina

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