fig 1: Sims speculum
Efrat Hakimi is an artist and educator working across technologies and crafts. Her work emerges from curiosity, learning, and the intersection of my experiences as an immigrant woman in the US. In her installations, Hakimi studies and unpacks the ideologies embedded within functional tools, language, and public spaces. Forging original and critical views of political issues in various cultural contexts, she employs inventive methods to erode cultural foundations such as geopolitical tension, racial and gender violence, and the forces that shape them.
The paper in her series Sims figures is embossed with the outlines of surgical tools, these were the tools used by James Marion Sims, who conducted non-consented experiments and surgeries on enslaved black women in the 1840’s in Alabama. Sims didn’t use anesthesia and didn’t have the consent of Lucy, Betsy, Anarcha, and other women whose names he didn’t record. In studying the brutal history of modern gynecology, she was interested in the relationships between what is acknowledged as historic public knowledge and the personal embodied knowledge of the gynecological exam, and in the question- do tools have an ideology?
The embossed paper works were created from *Sims’ hand-drawn illustrations, and the use of black paper conceals the images to the same extent that it reveals them.
*The drawings were published in: On the treatment of vesicovaginal fistula, James Marion Sims, Philadelphia: Blanchard & Lea, 1853
Efrat Hakimi, fig 1: Sims speculum, 2018. Image by Jesse Meredith
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Efrat Hakimi, fig 1: Sims speculum, fig 5b: sharp pointed knife, fig 11: crescent shaped fork, fig 16: forceps, fig 19: Gum Elastic Bougie, 2018. Images courtesy of Jessee Meredith
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