After my study abroad, I felt a bit lost as to where to go with my studio work as most of the modules I had taken were theoretical and the two practical modules I had were project based. I decided to start mind-mapping ideas of a project I could do relating to cultures I’ve experienced growing up as enjoyed doing essays on this topic whilst I was in Australia.
Below is my first mindmap where I was looking into ideas I had about the different places I had lived in:
In a second mindmap below, I focused a bit more on my Senegalese background because both my parents are from there, it is where I found the strongest links despite never having lived there. I was also interested in the idea of cultural hybridity and felt that in a sense this resonated with Senegalese culture due to the French colonial history. Senegal now has a lot of aspects of French culture, particularly in terms of language, integrated into society.
In my research on this topic, I found that this was especially prevalent in Saint Louis, as it was the first colonial town in Senegal. Saint Louis also happens to be my mother’s home town and is somewhere I visit often as my grandparents live there, but I had never realized this about the town.
A documentary I watched with my mother (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG97eLusQDU) also revealed that the initial arrival of the boats of the French colonisers struggled to cross the mouth of the river into Saint Louis and had to be guided by the local fisherman. The fisherman culture in Saint Louis is a vital part of the local livelihood and is something my mother would tell me about from a young age, as stories about great grandparents feats fishing are an important part of my maternal family history.
Today we had Rachael Minott, an Art student Alumni come in to give us a talk about her experiences whilst at university as well as her after she graduated.
I found her talk extremely inspiring as a lot of her processes into her 3rd year were quite similar to what I’ve experienced. Rachael had also been on a study abroad and found herself a bit lost when getting back into the swing of the studio module in Reading.
I had earlier considered doing a project relating to my Senegalese cultural background as it is something I’ve always wanted to do work into but haven’t really looked into whilst at university, and Rachael’s practice at university was linked her Jamaican heritage so it gave me quite a lot of insight into the type of project I wanted to start doing.
Rachael spoke a lot about how research influences her practice which interested me but was something I was quite sure how to balance in terms of your practice. After speaking to her after the talk she gave me some useful tips on how to approach research with your work. Particularly that I use structured questions, and ask myself why I want to do the work I am doing.
My last portrait is progressing well:
After a group crit, I’ve decided to make the background orange instead of red, as it would coordinate well with the yellow and will stand out rather well with orange and blue being complementary colours.
I plan to curate the painting alongside other works relating to portraiture and women and have them hanging side by side.
For the exhibition, I wanted to have to comparative portraits of women from different cultures exploring the relationship between women and food. For my second piece, I wanted to base it on the Senegalese adverts with a portrait of my mum. Having not had a chance to take any recent photos of her in the time, I used and scanned an old photograph of her in traditional Senegalese clothes.
I aimed to directly photoshop Senegalese food brands which are named are after common Senegalese women’s names to base on my painting on. As seen below:
My completed photoshop is below, where I incorporated all the branded foods into a basket directly taken from a Senegalese advert and making a similar layout to my previous painting to keep the link clear, I’ve also done a vivid Pop-art like background. I’m still a bit unsure about the red, but will see what works as my painting develops.
For my painting, I decided to paint this photo:
As I felt that it was subtle in its sexual connotations, with the bed and the clothing slightly of the shoulder. The branded food is also rather clear and held in a similar fashion to the Pre-Raphaelite paintings I drew inspiration from. Thus having a slight contrast here where the Pre-Raphaelite style painting being from “high” art culture, whilst the idea of consumerism and advertising is more “low” art culture.
I also like that the gaze of the model is directly towards the audience, making her seem a lot less passive than the women represented in the Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The gaze here challenges the viewer, and thus also challenges the male gaze.
Progressing through the painting, I decided to make the background a vivid yellow. This to have that element of Pop-art which is linked to the idea of consumerism.
For my photographs taken for my painting, I decided to keep a similar idea in the set up of my previous Week 4 photos with my model and the bed, but rather than working with just fruit and veg, I added some clearly labeled brands. I felt that with this I could create that link with the idea of consumerism and how it almost suggests a sense of women being up for consumption.
I drew inspiration for the poses in the photographs from the Pre-Raphaelite portraits of women as seen below:
In the way that they are almost ornamented with things to pose with in the photographs. I made my model hold the food items in a similar way, as well as suggestively placing other items to link to the sexualisation.
- oil painting portrait of woman with branded and unbranded food products
- Possibly could use the plates? Creates a piece that immediately brings the audience to the thoughts of consuming by using a plate
- Portrait alongside plates – how to curate?
- Chloe Wise = first inspiration, relates female for and its sexualized portrayal to the consumption of food – food & sex similar visuals, I was intrigued by this relation between food and women after seeing how women are consistently used in advertising in Senegal, though in a different cultural context still creates this idea of women as something to be consumed
- Looked more into the historical portrayal of women as passive, bodies presented for pleasure – aim to create a portrait that resonates with this, with the asymmetrical gaze of the woman that creates a male fantasy
- Include sense of consumerism with branded foods – Warhol influence of art being created for the consumer (relates to advertisements of women ? Emily Ratajowski in food pleases the male consumer)
- Bring together high culture of pre-raphaelite style painting to the more available and “low” culture of consumerism.
- Ideas of also health fads maybe? With the plate with the avocado and coconut water, ideas of gaining the ideal body from the media by following these diets (popular but expensive)
I attended a life drawing class where we had a female model. I think this was an interesting experience in relation to my work as I got to experiment with portraying the female form in person, rather than working from a photograph. It was a fun experience and allowed me to loosen up more in terms of my portrayal of the female form.