In my artistic practice, I work with a variety of materials, typically creating sculptures and installations, which I use to produce artworks that could be described as forms of art-activism.
I’m primarily interested in drawing attention towards injustices and problems faced by minority groups like social and political Otherness. I identify as an intersectional feminist artist, which is significant when discussing Otherness, as it recognises issues, overlooked by typical feminism, like oppression experienced by people due to their race, disabilities, gender, and sexuality. Within the subject of Otherness, I specifically explore topics such as privilege and oppression, subjectivity and identity, patriarchal views, over-sexualisation, and heteronormativity. I work within these themes because I believe it’s important to highlight inequalities.
To catch attention, I frequently use an abject style, meaning I use imagery of natural things that people exclude and repel from themselves. For example, bodily fluids, imperfections and deformities, diseases, and sexuality. I confront the viewer's mindset by over-exaggerating that which is seen as repulsive and unacceptable, aiming to make the viewer realise that how things are normally isn’t that bad when compared to my creations. I’m motivated by my attempts to create a balance between discomfort and curiosity in order to get people to want to figure out what I’m portraying, and why it’s purposely vile and disruptive.
My past pieces include a shower installation titled ‘Don’t Touch Me’. This consisted of a representational shower scene, including bodily tiles of macro photographs showing stretch-marks, body hair, and fat rolls. Within the shower, next to a pink shower curtain, was a gold-framed, 2.5 metre high, mirror with the word ‘WHORE’ written in pink capitals at eye level. The work was made to be “experienced" while listening to a spoken text discussing consent, played through headphones. I used the shower setting and headphones to try to generate an intimate and personal atmosphere which contrasted with the violent text in the mirror. The mirror reflection takes away the viewer's ownership of the Self and transforms them to the Other. Is society calling you a ‘whore’ or is it yourself? who consents?
In the future, I hope to make more socially engaging work that encourages viewers to connect to my art, experience it, and, because of it, question why people behave the way society has told them to.
Anya Bliss Artist