Janet Marie Bradley

The Three Rosas

Note:  The images below are a mix of altered photos from the book "The Three Rosas" along with photos from the origianl installation.   Please see - Links - for a preview of published book "The Three Rosas"

A brief history of The Three Rosas 

I bought some chairs on a whim and then realized that they were too decrepid for interior use.  I took them to my studio thinking that I could use them for something somewhere down the line. The chair, a useful object, is symbolic of home, rest, position and stability. I was about to move again for the umpteenth time. When our friends came to say goodbye, we built a big fire and all gathered around.  I decided to burn one the chairs as a sort of ritual. Unsure of its potential effects, I placed the chair in the center of the fire.  We watched, mesmorized by the flames, disturbed by the chairs vulnerability.  As it's skeleton was exposed, it's form spoke, telling a different story to each observer.  It burned until it no longer held words.  We couldn't take our eyes off of it.

The three remaing chairs sat next to the flames.  They would become The Three Rosas.  

In the photograph, they appear to be watching. Their meaning and symbolism as traditional chairs transforms. They are no longer chairs.  They are embryonic internal fires.  Each one of the three Rosas;  Rosa Parks, Rosa Luxembourg and Rosalind Franklin was driven.  Driven by a cause, a moment of passion, a quickening that become an action or a reaction.  Each woman had a strength fueled by an inteligence that set them apart from others.  American, Polish, English.  Three different women, three different eras, three different reasons for the sparks that ignited their fires.  The observed burning chair is  the common flame that each one of the Rosas posessed and which said;  "stand up! don't stand up! move forward! do what you need to do!".



Three Rosas.  Three women who changed history.  Funny, none of them were part of my history lessons growing up in the middle of America in the 60's and 70's.  I was introduced to each of them at different times throughout my life.  


Rosa Parks  04/02/1913 - 24/10/2005     "The First Lady of Civil Rights"

The first Rosa that I 'met' was Rosa Parks.   Known as the first lady of Civil Rights, her story is now well recorded and her name is etched in minds and hearts around the world.  She was arrested in 1955 - one year before I was born - for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in the segregated south.  Her refusal to move sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and the Civil Rights movement.  


Rosa Luxembourg  05/03/1871 - 15/01/1919     "Rosa La Rouge"  (Rosa the Red)

Rosa Luxembourg was a Marxist theorist and philosopher.  I 'met' Rosa while studying political science at University.  I was instantly facinated with her life, her work and her tragic and untimely death.  She had an "oppositional attitude toward the authorities" which drove her to become a relentless political revolutionary in the late 19th century despite her gender and her physical limitations.  She is "a woman who has never lost her inspirational power as an original thinker and courageous activist in the first Marxist Social Democratic party and then the German revolutionary group the Sparticist League." (1)  Rosa was arrested and then murderd by her captors in 1919 in Berlin.


Rosalind Franklin  25/07/1920 - 16/04/1958   "The Dark Lady of DNA"

Rosalind Franklin was a pioneer molecular biologist and crystallographer. I was "introduced" to her while doing some research for a project on the imagery of DNA only one year ago.  My genetics professor at University, who was a woman, never mentioned her. The Cambridge tutor that I recently heard speak at Central Saint Marins in London, presented a slide of the double helix structure of DNA crediting Watson and Crick with its discovery but did not mention Rosalind Franklin.  So who was she?  She was a research scientist at King's College in London in the 1950's where her photograph of DNA using X-ray diffraction imaging led to the discovery of the double helix structure.  'Photograph 51' as it is now known was removed unethically from her lab and taken to Cambridge by Watson and Crick who were working on similar research.  This important image was the key to their "success" and subsequent Nobel Prize.  Rosalind died of Ovarian cancer in 1958 athe the age of 37 before Watson and Crick were awarded their prize in 1962.  Today, she is finally receiving the recognition that has been long overdue.

 Fire is cathartic, transformative and seductive but when its flames bow to the earth, flattening in ashen surrender, the spell is broken.  Final.  Perfect.

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  1. Gwen avatar
    Gwen May 31, 2012

    love your work and your thought process. So impressed by the amount of beautiful work you have done. Gwen

  2. Janet Bradley avatar
    Janet Bradley Jul 17, 2012

    Thank you Gwen!  Wonderful to have some feedback.  Janet

  3. marianne avatar
    marianne Sep 30, 2012

    the historical dialogue and drama surrounding the simplicity of the chairs is though provoking.

  4. Sharon Jogerst avatar
    Sharon Jogerst Jan 10, 2014

    This is amazing!!!  This ART speaks to my soul on so many levels…  Genius!!!

  5. Dina Berray avatar
    Dina Berray Mar 14, 2014

    Janet! Rather out of the loop here. None of this is a surprise to me. You are so incredibly talented and inspiring. Quite brillient as well. Miss you. Dina