The Matriarchal Mural: When God was Woman, 1980-2021.

Double Sided Triptych:
“Thirteen Women in the Volcanic Eruption” &
“The Birth of the Vision of the Heart”

8ft. x 12ft. 
Acrylic on Wood Panels.

In 1980, Judith F. Baca directed a workshop at the Women’s Building, in which 13 women and women primarily of color, were involved in the development of evolving a narrative around “woman as creator”, female leadership, female power, female worship and the decline of women’s status. Judith F. Baca, in contemplation of Merlin Stone’s “When God Was A Woman” – an exploration of ancient worship of the female Goddess and the subsequent suppression of women’s rites – developed a workshop process to source ideas, record dreams, and construct imagery and content emblematic of female power. As a double-sided triptych, Thirteen Women in the Volcanic Eruption and The Birth of the Vision of the Heart was brought to completion in 2021, as Baca advanced these paradigms:   

Thirteen Women in the Volcanic Eruption incorporates the young women who participated in the workshop into the painting, who simultaneously represent Latina and Chicana women, and Mestiza women. Their naked bodies are shown standing in the fiery lava of the volcano, displaying the palms of their hands, and in the center – the heart – synonymous with life. All the figures emerge from the fertility of the volcano’s ashes, in a fertile paradise, like a phoenix that rises from its ashes ready for a grand ceremony.  

The Birth of the Vision of the Heart, a continuation of this story, the great ceremony of a ritual, a goddess possessing vital energy, Mother Earth. She stands with her hands extending into large flowering branches, her rhizomatic feet extending into deep roots, and throughout her body, blood spreads in venous threads that connect her corporeal mass with an earthly paradise, emulating the scars of the earth.

— “Ecofeminist: JUDY BACA On the Matriarchal Mural and Its Symbols” by Gabriela Urtiaga, MOLAA Chief Curator