Created in January 2016. Self-Portrait as a Redhead is part of a series of three photographic portraits, the other two are in the process of being remade (because they aren’t quite as good as this one)
Recently this image was picked to be the centre piece and promotional image of the MA and Other Postgraduates exhibition at the Atkinson Gallery in Somerset.
This work was inspired by the debate over female body hair, the current beauty standard and the idea of ‘otherness’. Due to the nature of the current political, as well as societal environment, I’ve decided that the best way to put forward an opposing argument is in a subtle manner. I really enjoy creating in general, but in order to make my art more than a self indulgent practice, I realised a long time ago I should be making work that at the very least contributes to important discussions, which are happening more and more because of the age of the internet.
As I’m a female who makes art with her own body, and believes in equality, my art is generally dealing with the theme of gender. When I was making this work, I was inspired by renaissance and religious art. I wanted to make something beautiful so that it would not be immediately dismissed as ‘angry feminist art’. In some ways, I’m afraid that in some way this is diluting the message, but I’d rather that the people I’m trying to persuade at least took the time to look at the work in the hope that, even subconsciously, they might question their preconceived views on gender roles.
Because I wanted this work to be looked at, I followed the tradition of the female, in particular the female nude in renaissance painting. The subjects eyes are averted away from the viewer, in order to give the viewer more space to really look.
I’m not, however, condoning the practice of the female being denied her own gaze. With recent events in mind, I believe that being accessible to all audiences, particularly the ones who don’t hold the same views as you, is important. Whereas some of my work is more confrontational, I felt that confrontation was not appropriate for this particular work.