REJECTED examines the limits of what we in society perceive and construct as “normality” by showing what is considered “deviant”. More specifically, the series explores the stigma and taboo associated with the abnormal or deviant body from a female gaze.
Like Cindy Sherman, Nadia Lee Cohen and other (female) artists, I use myself as the model for each of the picture in the series. However, by deliberately staging, disguising and transforming myself in every picture, I am negating the concept of the classical self-portrait. None of the pictures in REJECTED is of me, and yet I am present in the manner in which I have imagined them, dressed them, lit them, composed them, photographed them and, of course, posed for them. I do so deliberately to abstract away from the individual “cases” that inspire the series – thus avoiding the risk of portraying the women as “curiosities” or “victims” – and instead use myself as a transformative material in the service of a wider argument; to humanise and present broader experiences with bodily deviation from a female gaze.
I stage the portraits in formal Renaissance poses against a vintage backdrop, but instead of humbly concealing bodily deviance as would be the case in self-portraits form the sixteenth, seventeen and eighteen century, my (self-)portraits confidently show what is usually concealed, creating a visual collision between repulsion and fasciation to generate a critical reflection of bodily normality and deviance.