On June 1, 2014, Mary Mihellic began drawing in her studio in Bushwick.  Spontaneously, the first “Running Girl” emerged – which has become the artist’s response to the 273 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria.  As of December 2014, the “Running Girls” series has grown to 53 drawings.  These artworks reflect on war under the guise of religion — religious freedom — education for women –and global feminism.

Mary Mihelic’s abstract style captures the plight of the “Running Girls” without overstating it.  One is aware of the severity of the situation formally.  A profusion of curved lines creates a mass of energy.  The relationship between positive and negative space creates isolation and a heightened sense of vulnerability.  The contrast between pure and dulled colors causes an intense emotional response.  The repetition of tread like marks constructs the visceral experience of running.  The series as a whole engenders serious contemplation of the dire circumstances of abduction.

Mihelic Running Girl Twenty-six2

Running Girl 26, 60” x 44”, Mixed Media on paper, 2014

Mihellic Running Girl Nine2

Running Girl 9,  44″  x 60″,  Mixed Media on paper, 2014


Running Girl 19,  51” x 53”,  Mixed Media on paper, 2014


Mihelic Running Girl Sixteen2

Running Girl 16,  60” x 44”, Mixed Media on paper, 2014

This Running Girl artwork comments on the 13-year old Mo’ne Davis who pitched the first shutout ever in the Little League World Series.  Out of the 9000 players who have participated in the Little League World Series only 18 have been girls.  Mo’ne is the same age as many of the kidnapped girls, and with a 70 mph fastball, isn’t afraid to show the boys what girls can do.  She says, “I never thought that at the age of 13 I would be a role model, but now it’s real…”  (As are all the kidnapped girls who put their lives at risk to get educated).  The homeplate shape symbolizes a home and all those recently displaced from their homes due to religious wars.  It is also a metaphor for the “homemaker”.   The text art “steal home” wishes the kidnapped girls safe return home.


You can view more images and follow the complete Running Girls Series at Mary Mihelic’s website: http://www.marymihelicartist.com/Mary_Mihelic_Home.html