We all have hidden parts in ourselves; both emotional and physical. These hidden parts are our true selves, the parts that just are, without reason or question. What is it about these hidden parts that we are so afraid of expressing?
In society and every day life images are forced upon us, and whether we like it or not, we take in these images both consciously and subconsciously. In magazines and newspapers, advertisements on TV, in films, posters/billboards, etc..we find images of women with their 'bits' hanging out, displaying 'sex' and so-called female confidence. If absorbed, these images have an effect in pressurizing women and young girls into thinking that they need to look a certain way in order to gain confidence and adoration - into being 'liked' and 'accepted.' Wherever we go, we can't escape from it.
Last week I submitted an artwork to a gallery space, the theme being 20x20 - anything could be submitted on a board as long as it was 20x20 inches. I handed my work in and was looking forward to going to the opening which was a couple of days later.
On the board I had stuck on two photographs, one of my face decorated with a delicate leaf and the other photograph I displayed my 'bits', - my hidden parts - my truest self laden bare, also decorated with a leaf. I then placed a veil over the board, a symbol of protection; my nest; my web. The photos were taken over a year ago, and I have never shown them before. I wanted to keep them hidden and wait until an opportunity came along to show them, which I felt was at that moment. I was ready to express myself in such a way.
A couple of days after I'd handed in the board, I received a phone call from the gallery. They said that it would be a problem to show the work because it would probably cause offence to the public if this work was to be shown. I was quite surprised, my intention with the work was not to offend at all, and the images, in my opinion, are not in any way offensive.
It disheartened me a little, to have my work rejected like that - maybe I was naive? I could understand where the man was coming from, he was worried about upsetting the public and what effect that would probably have on the gallery. ''It's a public space and we have people coming in here from all ages, backgrounds and religions, and we really wouldn't want to upset anyone.'' Fair enough, I thought, but would people have really been upset by this? Really? If anything I think it would have broadened their minds and led to stimulation and discussion..isn't this what art is meant to do? To broaden and expand our thinking? To keeping moving and changing. To open up our state of mind; to tickle our consciousness; to wake us up; to expand?
Every day images of women with their tits n bits out in newspapers and magazines are forced upon us, displayed and viewed by men and women of different ages, backgrounds and religions. So why is it that the image of something so natural; something every woman has and where we all come from, is so offensive? Is it really? Maybe an image that expresses truth and is displayed for what it really is, rather than fake portrayals of what beauty or sex or femininity is, scares us, because we're not used to seeing things that are true any more. If people are so offended by this image, how come these images of young women and girls half naked, are so accepted in our society? And especially accepted for girls as young as nine to look up to and to dress and act like these so called 'role models?'
But yet and image of nature and truth would upset them, would it?