Analuz  “Aann” E. Reynales, a 26-year-old local artist from Lopez, Quezon, Philippines made this intriguing painting. Her artworks mostly depict the female psyche and feminism. She had joined a lot of exhibits already and won several local and national painting competitions.

In this particular artwork, it shows a half-naked lady full of tattoos, ethnic tapis, sharp bolo, and a man’s severed head in a dark violet stormy clouds-like background. Many may find this piece disturbing or something historical, but by staring at it for a long time, you will realize how incredibly timely, empowering, and revolutionary this painting is.

At first, I had this big question in my mind, “Why would this lady cut a man’s head?” Is this something about love and betrayal? Or justice because it looks like an act of revenge? A rebellion perhaps, because of women’s abuse? But upon looking at every detail, from the tattoos down to her tapis, I can say that it has something to do with Filipino toxic culture, particularly sexism.

There are certain ideas that the artwork conveys:

1. It is trying to impart something about gender equality where women can also do what men can do.

2. It can be about Kalinga’s headhunter story.

3. It is inspired from the Book of Judith in the Bible.

4. It can be an interpretation of the final judgment.

Whatever the artist’s purpose or trying to say, it is always important to have in mind that to interpret a work of art is to make sense of it. Always bear in mind the three factors when you describe an artwork: Look, See and Think. You will be surprised when you utter the word, “Oh, I see…that’s what she meant.”