Frida Karlo

Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, Nikolas Muray Collection, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

Her work and my work.

Karlo’s work is fascinating as was she. As a woman, I can relate to her work especially, when it comes to her self-portraits. The fact that she leaves her upper-lip her and uni-brow, un-plucked and in the painting is interesting. With media and historical images of women, one usually sees woman portrayed as hairless, yet a lot of women do have hair. Having no facial hair or leg hair is socially seen as beautiful and ‘feminine’. I myself have questioned such social constructs and conditioning at a young age.

With my own work, if I had a nude woman, if appropriate to the concept, would I portray their leg hair and facial hair? I would like to think I would. Yet it depends on the message, as at present I am not making work about the socially constructed ideas of beauty.

Hair and Sikhi.

Although hair is an important and often debated topic amongst Sikhs. A lot of woman and men do not cut or shave. Living a simple and natural lifestyle. Hair has become very symbolic to Sikhs. Yet some struggle with the challenges of keeping their hair uncut. Plus some feel that they are pressured into keeping their hair uncut, by parents and the community as it looks as though they are not proper ‘Sikhs’ if they do cut their hair. 

Hair and my work.

The act of keeping one’s hair can then become either empowering and liberating or oppressive, depending on if it is one’s own personal choice to keep it or if it is forced on someone. Hair is becoming quite symbolic in my work. It can represent spirituality and also tradition and the complexity of when spirituality meets culture, society, peoples, fears, ego and so forth. 


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