Elles sont tombées

Ruth HartleyEducation, Feminism, m’Other Art4 Comments

Detail of painting of falling figures 2005

The fall of Kabul to the Taliban has filled me with despair for the future and hopes of women there and for women everywhere. I felt driven to once again show the paintings I made about the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre together with my installation about women. It is on show in the Foyer Rural in Labatut-Riviere and I will be pleased to talk about it to anyone who is interested as I know many people are. If you want to see the exhibition please contact me in the Comment box below. If you want to help refugees this is a local Facebook group here in the Gers

Robert Maisonneuve, the maire of my village, has placed this information in the village newsletter here. I am very grateful to him and to the village for allowing me to show my work. A version in French of this post is below .

I want to highly recommend that you read the Statement by the Women’s collective on the subject of the Taliban and Muslim women. It is thoughtful and very important.


On September 11th. 2001 two aircraft flew into the World Trade Center in New York, killing 2996  people. Some people leapt from the building to escape the fire and collapse of the building and fell to their deaths. The USA occupied Afghanistan to defeat El Qa’eda.

Ra1tz The five paintings displayed at the Leper Chapel Cambridge 2005. Photograph by Peter Mennin

On August 17th. In 2021 the Taliban overran the Afghan capital, Kabul and the country collapsed. Many tried to escape clinging to American aircraft as they took off. Some fell to their deaths.

On August 7th. 1998 Suicide bombers targeted the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. 224 people were killed and over 4000 were estimated injured. 12 Americans were killed. El Qa’eda cared nothing for the Africans who were killed and injured though many were Muslim. The US showed little concern either.

Installation in Labatut-Riviere Foyer Rural 2021

The Paintings

Oil stick and acrylic on canvas

I painted a series of pictures on this subject which were displayed in the Leper Chapel, Cambridge in 2005 under the title of /ra1tz/ Rights and Rites are pronounced the same way in English. These paintings were exhibited in Mazères as La Chute. I am displaying them now as ELLES SONT TOMBEES. In every war, women and children suffer most. Under the Taliban women have been slaves. From left to right each panel is titled ironically with the classic analysis of revolution and shows a stage in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre. Each panel is taller than a man. In each painting a falling figure is portrayed at the approximate height of the belly button of an adult viewer. This is where the shock of falling is felt first. My thesis is that people suffered before 9/11 and continue to do so after 9/11. We must find new ways to be together and to understand each other in the world of today.

Falling figures with information

Oppression – The World Trade Center stands

Resistance        – The World Trade Center burns

Education  – The World Trade Centre falls in smoke and dust

Action – The World Trade Centre is in ruins

Liberation – The World Trade Centre has gone

The Installation

The Rôle of Woman

Embroidered linen bedsheets, old, worn and patched, with muslin veil

The veiled installation

The hanging installation was first exhibited in Cambridge as part of Hamera and Hartley’s  installation ‘m’Other Art’: Deconstructing Damien Hirst

It asks the question of women’s significance for humanity. Women’s bodies nurture and nourish life. All human infants begin life in a woman’s womb and after birth are fed on the milk of a woman’s breasts. All men are born from out of a woman’s body.

The denial of a woman’s equality, freedom, education, the use of her as a sex slave from childhood is a crime by a man born out of a woman.

On this unhappy 20th. anniversary I am displaying them again. What have we learned? What can we do to make the lives of our sisters, daughters and mothers better?

Ruth Hartley

Writer and artist

My art is the process through which I explore conflict, creativity and communication.

Traduction en francaise


Le 11 septembre 2001, deux avions se sont écrasés sur le World Trade Center à New York, tuant 2996 personnes. Certaines personnes ont sauté du bâtiment pour échapper au feu et à l’effondrement de l’immeuble et sont tombées dans la mort.

Les Etats-Unis ont occupé l’Afghanistan pour vaincre El Qaeda 2001

Le 17 août 2021, les talibans envahissent la capitale afghane, Kaboul, et le pays s’effondre. De nombreuses personnes tentent de s’échapper en s’accrochant aux avions américains qui décollent. Certains sont tombés et sont morts.Le 7 août 1998, des kamikazes ont pris pour cible les ambassades américaines de Nairobi et de Dar Es Salaam. 224 personnes ont été tuées et plus de 4000 ont été blessées. Douze Américains ont été tués. El Qaeda ne s’est pas soucié des Africains tués ou blessés, même si beaucoup étaient


Bâton d’huile et acrylique sur toile

J’ai peint une série de tableaux sur ce sujet qui ont été exposés à la chapelle des lépreux, à Cambridge, en 2005, sous le titre de /ra1tz/.

Rights et Rites se prononcent de la même façon en anglais.

Ces tableaux ont été exposés à Mazères sous le titre La Chute

Je les expose maintenant sous le titre ELLES SONT TOMBEES.

Dans chaque guerre, ce sont les femmes et les enfants qui souffrent le plus. Sous le régime des Talibans, les femmes sont des esclaves.

De gauche à droite, chaque panneau porte le titre ironique de l’analyse classique de la révolution et montre une scène de l’attaque du 11 septembre 2001 contre le World Trade Center.

Chaque panneau est plus grand qu’un homme.

Dans chaque tableau, une figure tombante est représentée à la hauteur approximative du nombril d’un spectateur adulte. C’est là que le choc de la chute est ressenti en premier.

Oppression – Le World Trade Center est debout

Résistance – Le World Trade Center brûle

Éducation – Le World Trade Center tombe dans la fumée et la poussière

Action – Le World Trade Center est en ruines

Libération – Le World Trade Center a disparu


Le rôle de la femme

Draps de lit en lin brodés, vieux, usés et rapiécés, avec un voile de mousseline.

L’installation suspendue a été exposée pour la première fois à Cambridge dans le cadre de l’installation ‘m’Other Art’ de Hamera et Hartley : Déconstruire Damien Hirst

Elle pose la question de l’importance des femmes pour l’humanité. Le corps des femmes nourrit et alimente la vie. Tous les enfants humains commencent leur vie dans l’utérus d’une femme et, après leur naissance, sont nourris au lait des seins d’une femme. Tous les hommes sont nés du corps d’une femme.

Le refus de l’égalité, de la liberté et de l’éducation d’une femme, son utilisation comme esclave sexuelle dès l’enfance constituent des crimes commis par un homme né d’une femme.

En ce malheureux 20e anniversaire, je les expose à nouveau. Qu’avons-nous appris ?

4 Comments on “Elles sont tombées”

  1. dooley

    You’re right: nothing was learned! And what can one do now, here ? No real answers to that….. Maybe we’ll have to wait for even worse environmental chaos world-wide, before women are “granted” a chance to try and clear up (some of) the mess??

    1. Ruth Hartley

      Dear Sigrid – So many of us – women and men too – feel the same and I know we will do what we can!
      Thank you for your words

  2. Ayesha Kajee

    Thank you again, Ruth, for sharing our statement. And thank you also for giving me this opportunity to know you as a a visual artist, since I know you primarily in your literary incarnation.

    1. Ruth Hartley

      Dear Ayesha – your contribution to my writing life is essential for me and I think about that every time I write. Thank you! As a visual artist, I think I am someone who sees what I make as temporary form and a conversation with other people. I know there is lasting beauty not necessarily made by an individual but by a culture and craftsmen and women – art is the way we understand the pain and the meaning of our present experience and try and transform it into sense and perhaps hopefulness and that is itself beauty

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.