Friday, January 30, 2004

An exhibition of gown art

My neighbour, Jo Torr, is an artist. (She's also a trained librarian, but thats by-the-by). She's having an exhibition at Avid, of gowns, which opened tonight.

These gowns are sort of 18th Century-ish. The kind with the corset and the bustle and the decolletage. What's different about them is that the fabric has been screenprinted in black and white with images taken from old photos of Pacific Island people.

Now, I only managed to read a couple of pages of the accompanying literature before getting caught up in a conversation with Jo's lovely mum - but I gather that the works are a statement about the way white folks used to objectify non-white cultures.

It was a sort of 'white gaze', as opposed to a 'male gaze'.
Both women and men in the images are 'noble savages', subject to white people's cultural arrogance and stereotyping.

At least, that's what I think those dresses were all about.

Jo's mum introduced herself to me and was really lovely. I was happy to meet Denise, one of the two (identical twin) models wearing the works. I was interested to learn that she's a professional illustrator, and attends life drawing sessions at the school where I learned to draw.

Of course, being an aspiring artist, I wanted to know everything she did and how. It seemed I'd made a friend.

I think I must be good at this social networking thing.

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