Being a feminist and animal activist, her artwork contains elements that move her: women, animals and the earth. She creates environments that are lush and surreal, rich with color, texture and pattern. Many of her works contain sculpted papier-mâché features and beadwork, which push her 2-D work into a 3-D realm. Through her artwork she is envisioning and creating the world as she would like it to be: a place where harmony is present between animals and human.
In college Sudie was introduced to feminism. She began to realize that the underlying slant of words and behaviors could be coercive and oppressive in its intention. Feminism challenged her, but she did not have real clarity until she read Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism. Daly’s work galvanized and synthesized historical events, making connections between them that Sudie had not seen before, helping her understand that no choice is benign.
At that point her artwork began reflecting her newfound awareness and beliefs. She moved from creating classical figurative images of women to works showing them in all their diversity, shapes, colors and ethnicities. Her feminism evolved into considering that the oppression was not only of women, but included the abuse and neglect of animals and the earth. She began questioning the hierarchy of all living things, wondering why most humans believe they are superior to animals.
She has been calling animals kin for many years and actually feels a greater affinity with them than with humans. When she is with animals Sudie can feel their essence as sentient beings whose unique purpose deserves to be considered. It is a deep connection, both visceral and soulful. She does not understand the inherent coldness and cruelty she sees in people and feels safer surrounded by her animal companions and art.
There are times Sudie feels a parallel existence. Her life carries on with the quotidian – working in her studio, feeding her dogs, running errands, reading, going to the kitchen for food. The predictable. The usual. Simultaneously, she can feel the dry heat of the savannah where her kin, the elephants, are traveling to the next water or food source. She can hear the pounding of their feet, the earth trembling from their weight. Surrounding them are human predators who will take their lives for the ivory of their tusks, murdering their young or leaving them to die of broken hearts. They are not safe, these big majestic creatures. There is so much pain and sadness in this reality. She wonders how long it will take the collective to rid itself of the circus. This is just one species she is drawn to and cares deeply about.
Images have the power to affect the viewer’s mind and make them question the status quo. With her work Sudie hopes to portray a visual alternative to the world as it presently exists. Her desire is to offer a world where there is a collective heartbeat and a soul. A world with no hierarchy, where there is equality and freedom, mutual respect, communication and understanding.
Sudie was born in Washington, D.C. and currently resides in Hillsborough, NC, in the woods, on the edge of a meadow, surrounded by her gardens, with her Great Dane, Fiona Fig, and Pitt/Boxer, Marmalade Moon.
Sudie Rakusin website