As a young woman who spends a large amount of time contemplating what beauty is and how I fit into the concept, when I heard that NOW Gallery in north Greenwich was putting on an exhibition with the title The Body Issue – Human Stories I had to check it out.
The publicity starts with a quote from Cicero – “The face is the picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter” – and states that the exhibition covers “themes of race, identity, intersecting identities, idealisation and objectification of self”.
As someone who has struggled with identity and body image, I was very interested to see what I would find, and found most of the pieces curated by Kaia Charles both thought provoking and aesthetically very interesting.
But without wanting to sound selfish I found that a representation of my own story was missing. Although the exhibits ranged from the dysmorphic women of Alma Haser to the classically beautiful photo portraits of Nadine Ijewere, the models were all attractive, and slim.
It is hard to believe that an exhibition called “The Body Issue” would not be more inclusive when it came to size, and therefore more body positive.
“The face is the picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.”
I understand that they might have wanted to focus on other issues, but I still would have liked to have seen at least one representation of a plus size individual. As a plus size woman myself, it was disheartening to find a show about identity that reflected nothing of myself.
It is ironic to me that an exhibition trying to address some of the stigma surrounding body image undermines body positivity by failing to represent a variety of body types.
I felt disappointed by the collection. I saw my friends’ identities represented, but left with a feeling of disconnect and worthlessness, as if my particular “body issue” was not valid enough to earn a single representation. This was such a shame, because whilst the art on show did address important issues surrounding the body, including race and motherhood, it did not go far enough.
The Body Issue- Human Stories
13 Oct – 12 Nov 2017