Updated: Mar 4, 2019
This weekend my work, along with nine other fantastic artists, was exhibited at The Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester as apart of the fantastic Take / Hold event.
TAKE / HOLD is an event curated by Forecast Events and Balanced Flow Yoga exploring the themes of positive body image, self worth and the celebration of women’s bodies. The event was hosted at The Whitworth Art Gallery Saturday 2nd - Sunday 3rd March 2019 and kicked off the week of Women’s International Day. It brought together two visual mediums; an exhibition and a screening of Embrace, a powerful documentary that follows The Body Image Movement activist Taryn Brumfitt’s crusade as she explores the global issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies.
The piece I created for the exhibition is titled 'Different. Beautiful' and uses the language of the matryoshka doll to discuss individuality and self acceptance. More about the piece and my inspiration below.
The matryoshka doll; beautiful, skilfully crafted and timeless. An archetype of a woman with replicas of her form nestled inside; Each instance of her likeness a diminishing version of the original but all modelled on the same form; Rigid, unchanging, wooden. The perception of what constitutes a beautiful female form is much like the Matryoshka doll, age old and created from a restricted perspective.
For most of my life I would dread going to the doctor for the routine check up, as no matter how slender I was I would invariably be called overweight or obese. I was neither. Instead the chart that I was being measured against was and still is based on a minute colloquial study of one demographic of children. It originated back in the 1800s and seems only to be update every century. This chart did not and undoubtedly still does not take into account the variations in body type and muscle mass that can occur in females of Caribbean descent. As a result I grew up thinking that no matter what I did I would always be deemed as ‘abnormal’,‘outside of the curve’ or ‘fat’.
As I entered adulthood, however, I slowly began to realise that the female form comes in many shapes and proportions; Each beautiful and interesting in their diversity. In fact what one person would deem as ‘fit or ‘fine’ to another person or culture would be deemed as unattractive. With this realisation I decided that unless I planned to habitually switch cultures in line with my body shape that it was time to celebrate and embrace my own particular type of body fabulosity and also to encourage that same individual celebration in others.
We are all a blend of different cultures and ancestry, we live, laugh, and play differently; We all have own own unique thoughts and desires. So really it is a foolishness to believe that we should, or even could all look the same. We are all different and to my mind nothing could be more beautiful. x
It was a fab event to be part of and although it concluded over the weekend RISO prints of the artworks will still be available online with all profits from the sales going to local charity Girls Out Loud and The Teen Yoga Foundation.