“If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.” – Zanele Muholi
This selection of works explores my take on the lesbian experience. It adopts a playful approach through the reclamation of slurs as well as toying with stereotypes.
The pieces are unapologetic in their nature with a bold, poster-style background surrounding the figure. The figures are positioned to literally take up space on the canvas and demand to be looked at. They convey feelings of pride towards the subject’s identity whilst nodding to the subcultures of the sapphic community such as leather dykes, butches, and femmes.
With none of these pieces focusing on the subject’s face, they are less about the individual and more about representing a wider group of people. Additionally, the gender of the sitter is ambiguous in pieces such as ‘Lace and Leather’ exploring how the term ‘lesbian’ can encompass a wider group of people than just cis-gender women; for example transmasculine people, trans women, and non-binary individuals.
Text is an integral part of 3 out of 5 of these works, featuring in ‘Butch Bait’, ‘Femme Bait’ and ‘Oh Holy Dyke’. It sets out to destigmatise words previously used as insults towards queer people, reclaiming them with pride.
Overall, this collection represents celebration, acceptance, and queer joy. Regardless of the viewer’s gender identity or sexual orientation, the works are there to be enjoyed and hopefully inspire.