iServi News | 19 June 2020 | Term 2, Week 8
This semester the Year 12 ATAR Visual Art class has been exploring the concept of Stereotypes. The students were asked to research one stereotype and produce an artwork that either reinforced or challenged it. This may sound like a simple task, but the process is a long one. After seven weeks of investigation, design development and media testing the students consolidated their design ideas and started working in their preferred medium. Many of the works are large in scale and this process required another seven weeks to complete. The students in this class have demonstrated a mature and insightful approach to this unit of work and have produced some very skillful artworks.
Ms Patti Howells
Teacher – Visual Arts
Janna Delos Reyes (AN4)
This artwork, ‘King’, was created to challenge the traditional ideas of power present throughout history. Inspired by Kehine Wiley’s approriation series ‘Rumors of War (2005)’, this artwork was constructed similarly as an appropration of Napoleonic portraiture.
The work depicts a young asian female in the place of Napoleon in the artwork ‘Portrait of Napoleon (1805)’ by Andrea Appiani. This replacement of the Male Royal figure with a typical Asian girl, while the traditional ideas of power typically take form in the form of a male western noble, the idea of a woman especially one with a non-european heratige doesn’t comply with society’s usual ideas of leadership and power. The subject matter is surrounded by symbols of royalty, an unfitting and oversized mantle is draped over her casual clothing as she holds a hand over a crown.
While the original artwork was created to display Napoleon Bonaparte’s royalty, this artwork instead challenges this power held by Napoleon and those of similar status with her cold, direct gaze towards the viewer. This direct eye contact invites many different interpretations to the piece, the hand above the crown can be seen as a challenge against authority based on bloodline and lineage, the overlapping flowers in the background against the mantle echoes Wiley’s pattern work as it creeps in front of a mantle that doesn’t belong to her.
This artwork presents a message I resonate with personally, as a female asian, I cannot help but be aware of the common stereotypes and assumptions that say I have little to no hope in seeing someone like me in a position of power and able leadership in society. The title ‘King’ was chosen as the word holds stronger connotations of power than its female counterpart ‘Queen’. A small but notable difference we need to be aware of, as there is no practical reason for it.
Claudia Donatelli (SC2)
‘Lend A Hand’ makes a commentary on stereotypes in Italian culture focusing on the reinforcement of gender roles, specifically the unchanging role of the woman in the household. Coming from an Italian background I have experienced first-handedly the sexist undertones and expectations that come from being an Italian woman, within my own culture. I am expected to be responsible for the majority of the household duties including cleaning and cooking.
In my artwork I have highlighted these tasks by creating three pieces which all depict a set of feminine hands performing household chores. Panel one depicts a set of hands pouring coffee from a traditional Italian coffee pot. Extending on this, panel two displays a set of hands cooking a Barilla packet of spaghetti and panel three focuses on a set of hands washing dishes. These are all household tasks that are stereotypically performed by women in the Italian household.
The hands in my paintings symbolise the ideas of work and hospitality; without hands, women wouldn’t be able to serve and serving is what they are taught to do. By making the hands the focal point in each piece, I am emphasising the expectation of women to serve others. By incorporating strong Italian symbols such as the coffee pot, Barilla box and sauce bottle, I have established the culture in which these expectations come from.
The title ‘Lend A Hand’ is a powerful statement as not only does it emphasise the expectation of women to serve, but it forces them to do so; lend your hand because that’s your job. These key aspects of my artwork work in collaboration with each other to highlight the forced role of a women in an Italian household and how it is still prominent and unspoken about in today’s society.
Jesse Liebregts (SM4)
The purpose of my artwork is to make a social comment that individuals can dress, act and express themselves how they want by challenging their traditional gender roles and norms. I want to break the stigma that men have to be physically tough and emotionless and women have to be sensitive and fragile. My artwork explores and comments on the progressiveness gender identity and expression within the 21st century.
I am passionate about people being aware that our contemporary society has evolved from a traditional society’s views of the male and female boundaries and confines of categorisation and how they are changing for the better. I want to demonstrate and expression of freedom and a choice to embody individual gender-role self-concept without being pigeon-holed by the judgments of others.
Stylistically, I focussed my design concept on African American artist, Kehinde Wiley, particularly his use of repeated, rhythmic patterned flora behind portraits of men and women. I utilised acrylic paints with retarder to create smooth and blended brush strokes, as well as messy organic oil pastel strokes in the background leaves to create texture.
Contextually, I have decided to make a comment on misrepresentation and stereotypes of gender roles within an out-dated society – similar to Wiley, in particular its progression and modernisation in a contemporary society. The gender-neutral colour green is the dominant colour in my piece and symbolises the non-conformity and fluidity of genders in a new generation. It additionally represents nature which is a concept that surrounds gender, and how now gender is not limited by the natural anatomy of an individual, but how they choose to express themselves. The butterflies adorning the male figure on the left symbolise both masculinity and nature, emphasising the natural anatomy that often binds individual’s to their genders. The macaw symbolises masculinity and bravery, which is perched on the girl on the rights shoulder to emphasise her physical masculinity.
Renee Maxwell (OLS6)
‘Villains’ reinforces and comments on the stereotype portrayed by Disney that all villains are ‘nothing but evil’ and wicked. In classic animated films there would always be an antagonist, a stereotypical ‘villain’ that is there for the hero to defeat. I wanted to present this stereotype about evil Disney villains by making my own villains, with their evil deeds shown throughout their gestures. This is also presented through the newspaper articles and headlines I have written and placed in the background.
Growing up, I was heavily influenced by Disney animations, and still am to this day, so I wanted to incorporate this into my stylised, fantasy, ‘cartoonish’ art style. I was also inspired by Kehinde Wiley’s patterned backgrounds and incorporated it into my artwork, featuring a repeated pattern of skulls behind the demon and diamonds behind the witch.
The central meaning behind my work is that the evil and villainous witch depicted in the central piece is controlling the ‘Possessed Prince’ and the ‘Denounced Demon’ through the poisoned apple. This is reinforced by the yellow and red eyes, as well as the continuous story written throughout the articles that surround the frames in the background.
I wanted to solidify my artwork into the three primary colours to make each piece appealing to the eye and unique. To create the cyan mist that unifies the artwork together, I used an airbrush in a larger size to create the outline, before refining it and adding tendrils with a smaller airbrush.
To communicate to the audience that these are stereotypical villains, I wanted three central themes to be shown. ‘Greed’, ‘Control’, and ‘Power’ are depicted in a triptych, all unified by the cyan apple and the misty tendrils flowing from the cauldron, constructing them all to be depicted as villains.
Emily Nicholas (OLS2)
‘The Never Given Gift’ is an oil painting challenging the female stereotype, that women should submit to social expectations. The title evokes a social commentary about the mistreatment of females and how they are told to suppress their true beauty/ inner beauty in order to conform to social expectations as the ‘perfect woman’. Inner beauty/ true beauty is symbolised by the flowers and can be described as traits that define your character and personality, that cannot be seen on the surface. The position of the flowers behind the woman’s back reinforce how one’s identity is hidden and suppressed. In the foreground the woman isn’t looking at the audience but looking down which conveys loss of self and self objectification.
I have chosen Audrey Hepburn for my subject as she is renown for her timeless beauty which reinforces how this stereotype is a dated idea that is still maintained in society. Audrey in the mirror is gazing at the audience to gain attention and to establish a reflection of women’s unrealistic goals, to meet expectations. This mirror acts as a surface to how people view females, by their beauty and body. The boney back conveys the hidden pain and truth that most people do not recognise.
The distorted figure in the artwork portrays the suffrage women face towards this stereotype. The elongation of the back and the arm present stretched qualities which reinforce how women feel the need to change their bodies in order to meet societal expectations to be thin, ageless and flawless. The boney back further provokes how the mental battle of the stereotype manifests its self physically through eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. This subject matter presents the reality behind the stereotype that women should submit to social expectations and the repercussions of self objectification from this ideology.
Evelyn Pham (SC4)
My artwork, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ is a social commentary based on male stereotypes, specifically toxic masculinity. It challenges the adherence of societal expectations in which men are expected to suppress their emotions. Utilising acrylic paint on wooden board, I took inspiration from famous artist Kehinde Wiley and his pieces ‘President Barack Obama’ and ‘Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps’. Wiley’s emphasis of colour and lush plant life through the abundance of flowers and lush green leaves in ‘President Barack Obama’ are reflected in my piece through the scattered, blue cornflowers.
The cornflowers were applied through the techniques colour blocking, dry brush, and blended strokes with outlines with acrylic paint. Wiley’s extensive use of stencilling and pattern in the background of ‘Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps’ also inspired my work as I integrated the use of stencilling for the pattern of the cornflowers throughout. I also applied his technique of overlapping as the cornflower pattern overlaps onto the edges of the boxed image of the crying boy.
Boys Don’t Cry’ was conceived from the experiences of my two brothers, who I have witnessed suppressing their own feelings and emotions as a result of both family and societal gender expectations to fit into the expected norm. As so, my piece represents this expectation as an unnamed boy is forced into a ‘box,’ however resists it as he cries— hence the title. The cornflowers, symbolic of ‘tenderness’ overrides the gender normative and decorates the boy in beauty, showing that the expression of emotion is beauty itself.
Cindi Yang (SC1)
Title – Tiger Mum
This artwork reinforces the Asian stereotype of the tiger mother. It conveys the idea of strict mothers, reflection of a tiger as they are symbols of superiority and power. They inspires fear and forced respect from their child(ren). I started this drawing with ideas of the shades and composition I’d like to achieve by using 2B, 4B, 6B, and 8B lead pencils. This artwork is inspired by Shamsia Hassani, artist from Afghanistan who communicates social and cultural commentaries through graffiti. As her artworks conveys the gender inequality due to her cultural context, my artwork conveys the idea of tiger mum through my cultural context.
I wanted to present to my audience a Chinese stereotype that I have experienced throughout my learning school life as a second-generation Australian immigrant. My mum had always pressured me with her high expectations of achieving 85% or above (‘A’ grade) in school, and this artwork presents the scene when my mum would shout at me for a 78% maths test.
In this artwork, I’ve demonstrated the elements and principles of art such as contrast, form, value and emphasis in this artwork. Contrast between lighter and darker shades of grey through the entire drawing, for example, the dark tiger shadow in the background contrasts against the white background, this allows the shadow to advance before the white background. Form in the figure and clothing is created through the use of values of grey. The exaggerated dominance of my mum in this artwork is mostly shown through the huge dark shadow of the tiger head and my mother’s enlarged head as well as the superiority shown by the body language of my mum pointing at the test paper and her facial expression.These decisions are intentionally made to deliberately emphasise my mum’s disappointment and to establish the shame and fear I felt.
Above all, I want my audience to show empathy for having a strict, loving tiger mum.