A 2019 Highly Commended MA Photography graduate selected by Photograd.
University: The Royal College of Art
Artist Statement: This work focuses on the human psyche and specifically on inherited trauma from normative gender roles existing in the domestic sphere. By revisiting my own home in American suburbia, I was reacquainted with motifs and household items used in life-long act by women to ‘play house’.
An act past generations of females have performed in order to satisfy the cultural expectation that an adequate woman was a happy housewife. Women were taught their identity to make their home comfortable for their family and guests, care for their children and husband, and do so without showing anger, tears, or being humorous. All these emotions are synonymous with being “unacceptable”.
In this present Zeitgeist of “girl power” I am trying to understand where women’s new found liberation really lies? We only know what we have experienced and have been taught – To break a chain one must first examine it and distinguish some sort of personal truth between what is fed culturally to us and what is felt internally to be right. I want to stop this pattern of taught performance and break the chain of a long-line of inherited trauma.
By erotically performing as a ‘prop’, I transform these once familiar spaces into a mise en scène, highlighting the connection between the environment and the internal states of women past and present. By aggressively and assertively impersonating or ‘playing the house’, I attempt to reclaim these estranged and alienating domestic spaces. I am turning the gaze back on to you.
With a defiant humour that in turn is presented to the viewer as aggression, I desecrate and confront objects of domestic labour. By destabilizing suburban normality, I attempt to free myself and the next generations from the restrictions constraining women in penance for their greatest gift– life.