Acrylic on Canvas, 2015
Through my artwork, I wanted to take the public to a place where emotions and physical aspects can identify and express one’s gender. Since gender is more than a binary term based on one’s sex, the word is slowly becoming acknowledged as a fluid form of representation for one’s preferences and identity; ranging from masculine to feminine characteristics, roles, and ideals. Identifying with one gender can become a place of belonging that provides comfort and safety. I was influenced by how media portrays gender and sexuality in today’s society, and the definition of gender outside of societal and cultural expectations, which lead me to look for inspiration within the LGBTQIA community.
Despite the research I did from watching videos to reading blog posts and articles on the topic of gender, my artwork was created through the perspective and place where gender was taught to be only either male or female. I wanted to approach the theme of gender identity without confining to stereotypes or romanticising “difference” but without ever having experienced gender dysphoria and/or questioning my own gender, I knew I could not present gender identity in a pure and raw context. I found my attempts of communicating the concept of gender through my paintings unsuccessful and in doing so, the process became a journey for me, which allowed me to develop my thoughts, beliefs, and opinions on what gender meant to me.
The project became personal and I had to create art centred on what I saw gender as rather than try to translate everyone’s experience with gender. To achieve such a task, and show that place, I chose a palette of bright colours to attract attention and create intrigue in the subject’s posture and expression. I found that with each finished piece, the colours and positioning of the human figures are what made the paintings a creation from my own perspective. I hope that the viewer can understand that our place in society is multifaceted.