The Art of You - Artist Stories - Menna Siwan

Updated: Mar 16, 2019



Artist Statement: A connotation relating to the beauty of women is hair, yet off the head it undergoes a shift in representation that unsettles the viewer as a reminder of the person on which it grew. Disembodied hair contains the identity of the person, and whilst growing it represented an important facet of society - that of the pressure on women to look a certain way and to act a certain way in order to conform to the patriarchal society into which we were born. Cut hair sits in a liminal space, as do cut flowers, where they appear alive but are in fact dead. My work creates an interplay between the beautiful and the grotesque, shifting the textures of these liminal objects which were once pleasant in a rebellion against the beauty ideals that intrude upon the lives of women from a young age, throughout their lives. The colour pink exemplifies in some instances the fragility associated with femininity - a key theme in my practice. My aim is to find an opposing strength in pink, representing and embodying the true nature of femininity and what it is to be a woman in the twenty first century.

Work Description: This photograph was taken during a difficult time in my life, where the societal expectations and pressures of our culture tell me that I should look a certain way, and to behave in ways that were typical of women. Around this time, I decided to cut my hair short, and used it in this work so that I could carry a piece of my identity both physically and mentally at the time through my medium of choice. The characteristics expected of us as women include fragility, fertility and use as displayed objects, much like flowers. Using flowers in my work is a common theme, a satirical nod to the ways in which we are conditioned to embody these traits for the gratification of men. This photograph is an emblem of my liberation of the structures of society relating to female behaviour and stands against that which is expected of us.

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