Anonda Bell

Neither Shall You Touch It from the series "Reinstated" 


mixed media on cut paper

Installation - dimensions variable

The scene is located in a liminal world, a version of the Garden of Eden, but one that might exist in a dream.  It is a place that only exists after twilight and before dawn.  I like the ambiguity of this times of day, when darkness impedes clear vision, tones are muted, and activities that seem improper during the day may be enacted at nighttime.  The world that is represented in this version of the Garden of Eden is not one of lush fecundity, nature’s splendor, but of probable doom, alluding to aspects of the natural world less cherished or celebrated.  The figures are shadowy; their mercurial bodies are constituted by a temporary conflation of elements, which could be perilously close to being disassembled at any given point in the future.  Freud once stated “Anatomy is destiny”.  The women in this work, Eve and Lilith, are social constructs, appearing and acting in accordance with a degree of biological inevitability.  Eve is every woman; her actions facilitating the expulsion of people from the garden could be expected, as it is thought by some that women are by their nature inherently duplicitous and conniving.

Hysteria from the series "Reinstated" 


mixed media on cut paper

Installation - dimensions variable

Since Sigmund Freud’s writings on the concept of hysteria as a psychic illness, it has gradually become one of popular culture’s most cherished concepts.  The word itself originates with the Greek "hysteros", which referred to the uterus. It signified a medical condition in which mainly women exhibited a range of symptoms, which might include excessive crying or laughing, fainting or paralysis. In 1900 BC the Egyptians believed that abnormal movements of the uterus caused hysteria. Plato believed the womb was virtually like an animal with an independent existence. The nature of the woman’s illness was thought to relate to actual movements of the uterus. If it traveled to the heart, she experienced anxiety, if it attached itself to her liver she lost her voice and become ashen and so on. The general (male) view that woman, and woman’s reproductive system, was mysterious, strange and unknowable, no doubt led to the belief that hysteria itself was ultimately capricious and unknowable. 



mixed media on cut paper

Installation - dimensions variable

Biophobia” is defined as a sense of dis-ease in nature, and a derisive regard for climates and environments which are not man made or at least modified significantly by people.  It is thought to be an acquired urge to affiliate with technology, human artifacts, to the exclusion of experiencing the natural world outside a constructed environment.  This condition is a seemingly inevitable consequence of growing up in an urban environment where our interactions with nature may be limited to incidental encounters, strictly mediated and moderated by the perspective of urban planners, or those who generate media content (and sometimes benefit from propagating a fear of nature).

100 Ways to Refer to Her


gouache on paper, framed

installation - dimensions variable

Language both reflects and creates realty - it has an impact on thoughts and actions.  How we use language alters the way we experience the world.  Such commonly used language to refer to women is inherently negative - steeped in age old biases, sexism and misogyny.  This series contains 100 words that have been, or are, in use to refer to women. 

Media Mothers
Acrylic, ink, enamel, cut paper
Installation – dimensions variable

The media is defined as a “means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, which reach or influence people widely’.  The images in this work were collected to bring to the viewers attention the contrast between idealized images of motherhood disseminated by advertising and popular culture, and images of motherhood as they are played out every day in the news.  Each of the women depicted in this series has appeared recently in the media, either print or electronic versions.  The stories vary from heroism, to history to shameful acts perpetrated by women who exhibit no behavior compatible with stereotypical ideas of maternal instincts.  This series is in effect a form of longitudinal study – reflecting changing ideas about motherhood over a period of time.  The series started in 2012 (after the birth of my son) and I have been collecting stories since then. 

Yellow Wallpaper
silkscreen, paint on paper
Installation – dimensions variable, each sheet H 20" x W 20"

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860 – 1935) was an American feminist, sociologist, novelist, writer and lecturer for social reform.  In 1892 she wrote a book titled “Yellow Wallpaper” which portrays the narrator's insanity as a way to protest the oppression of women at the time.  Perkins witnessed the medical profession randomly diagnosing women as feeble in both mind and body.  As a consequence it seemed both natural and obvious that women’s contributions to society should be limited by their obviously inferior capacity.



mixed media on cut paper

Installation - site specific - public spaces in East Harlem, Manhattan, New York

​I am an immigrant, as are many of the people living in East Harlem.  Given the density of living and the fact that this part of Manhattan has the largest number of government project housing on the island, common outdoor garden spaces are an important part of the fabric of life.  My project celebrates this fact through increasing the awareness of the community gardens and the invaluable contribution they make towards the urban lifestyle.

Extinct: Botanicus


mixed media on cut paper

Installation - dimensions variable

This series draws attention to the impact of human activity on the world. Each of the plant specimens in this series is taken from the archives of the Kew Herbarium in London.  The collection started in 1853 and as of today about 1,000 of the seven million plants are classified as extinct.  As the result of climate change, and the resulting increase in temperature for the planet, many species of plants have become extinct.  Some scientists have estimated that there may be as many as 50 millions species of plants, but to date less than two million have been discovered.  At this rate many millions of species will be extinct before they have even entered formal scientific classification systems.  The plant specimens that I drew inspiration from are fragile and distorted versions of their live form.  As fractions of their former selves, they are presented to the viewer with layers of interpretation.  They have been dehydrated and then flattened to extend their ‘life’, but often with little regard for the aesthetics of their final form.  The specimen is often many degrees of interpretation away from the live version in both color, scale and structure.  The Kew collection is the only source of potentially viable seeds for a number of extinct plants.  With promethean gusto, it is sometimes possible to extract seeds from centuries old specimens, which can then be germinated to literally bring a plant back to life. Unfortunately, the ability to reverse course is not possible with other types of environmental changes wrought by human activity. 

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