In 24 B.C., the Kushite/Nubian Kandake (Queen) Amanirenas was threatened by the Roman Empire. Their neighbor to the north, Egypt, was under the subjugation of Rome and Queen Amanirenas was know to have led raiding parties into their territory, defeating three Roman cohorts. Before leaving, Queen Amanirenas defaced a statue of Emperor Augustus Ceasar, bringing the head of the statue back to Nubia and burying under the doorway of an important building as an insult to the Emperor and to Rome.
During the battle, Queen Amanirenas lost an eye and was subsequently known as "One Eyed Candace" (Candace being a miss-translation of the title "Kandake') to the Roman governor Gaius Petronius. The result of the battle was that she was chased deep into Nubian territory, and after a three-day truce, was eventually defeated. A treaty was drawn up which Queen Amanirenas subsequently broke. Historians have used Queen Amanirenas as an example of the "fierce, unyielding resistance of a queen whose determined struggle symbolized the national pride of a people who, until then, had commanded others". (Diop, p. 143)
For a number of years I regularly attended a live nude model class at our local art center. My technique was to first make a black and white charcoal drawing on toned paper and then use that drawing along with the live model to create an oil painting.
One day, the model was posed standing proudly with a large dowel that she held like a spear. In my mind, I could see her as an Amazon warrior, standing guard on a bluff looking over her lands. I researched Amazonian legends focusing on one of their great queens, Penthesilia, and incorporated her supposed clothing, weapons and background into my painting. I had so much fun doing this that I began researching historic women of power, discovering many fascinating, yet mostly unknown, strong and influential female leaders of the past. This body of work became my "Warrior Women" series and are all created with this nude-to-warrior woman concept.
"Amanirenas, Kantake of Nubia", Original 24" x 18" oil on canvas, SOLD, prints available