When Knights Come Calling

Niki Singleton
March 27, 2018

When I read that the 2018 theme for National Women’s History Month was Nevertheless She Persisted, referring to Mitch McConnell’s attempt to silence Elizabeth Warren from speaking in Congress, this piece became, for me, the perfect celebration of women’s courage and persistence in the fight for equality and respect. The monster is modelled after Mitch McConnell, whose amphibian hands are grabbing the knights as they fight to destroy him. But the monster, of course, doesn’t begin or end with him. We have witnessed women warriors coming out in droves to courageously name their abusers in public, offering themselves up to be national objects of mistrust and degradation. And through this, we see the extent of the oppression that exists today. But we persist, and in the future it may be the strength of women and the men who love, respect and support them, who depose a sexually abusive misogynist from office for trying to silence them.

Let’s be clear: this struggle of women for equality is ancient and global, and the women warriors I’ve portrayed in this piece have ancient Greek soldier, British knight, and Chinese warrior attributes in their armour and helmets. The monster reeks of the mythological dragon in Greek and Christian mythology (…think Saint George and the Dragon) who hoards all the gold in the village, keeping the villagers poor and destitute. In the middle ages, dragons came to embody humanity’s worst traits as described by Christian texts: the cardinal vices. Among them: Pride, Wrath, Greed, Gluttony, and Lust. Dragons were obsessed with princesses and gold. Many creatures of old are said to do bad things to promiscuous young women or seduce/entrance women in general. Women are handed the victim card, in order to keep them in line.

I want my work to bear witness and tell stories of progress happening now. In this painting, though the struggle continues, women are not waiting to be saved from the dragon by a hero. Women ARE the heroes!

*Press on the image to zoom in and navigate

When Knights Come Calling
Oil, Acrylic, Collage & Glitter
56”x48”
2018

Niki Singleton

Niki Singleton

Niki Singleton is a Canadian drawer, painter, and found material sculptor based in Brooklyn. Visit her website to learn more.

More Content...

In/Visible Series: What is the role of women in the production of information and knowledge?

Another Africa, Vancouver, Canada 

In spring 2016, Another Africa launched In/Visible Voices of Women, a long-term publication project. Conceived by Clelia Coussonnet and Missla Libsekal, it focuses on women artists operating within Francophone and Lusophone Africa. Read more articles in the series here. What...

Haawiyat: A Syrian Comic for Syrian Children

Monica Rodriguez, New York City, United States 

After fleeing Syria, a nation badly bloodied by civil war, refugees are finding themselves trapped in migratory limbo for long stretches of time as they await placement in foreign, and often unwelcoming, lands. Of the staggering 4.9 million displaced Syrians...

What is the Future of Artistic Practices?

Ayumi Goto, Toronto, Canada 
Andrea Fatona, Toronto, Canada 
Skawennati, Montreal, Canada 
Stefan St-Laurent, Gatineau, Canada 
Léuli Eshrāghi,  

Participants of the Primary Colours/Couleurs primaires (PC/Cp) 2017 Gathering were invited to join the roundtable to discuss a particular question that involved reflecting on their own artistic practices, personal histories and experiences, and dissect the challenges/fractures/progress within the current Canadian...

Don McKay on Defamiliarization

Andrew Vowles, Guelph, Canada 

Don McKay was out raven-watching one day in New Brunswick a number of years ago. Before moving there from Ontario, he hadn’t observed ravens intimately, so they hadn’t yet become invisible for him in the way that commonplace things and...