Models in Paradise

Mixed Media, 2020
60 x 60″

The day after encountering the mannequins in this image, I unfortunately had my bike stolen. It happened as I was arranging a meeting with a local gallery owner and searching for a winter coat suitable for cycling. It was my first experience witnessing a luxury mall and observing a large gathering of people from the area all in one place. I was accustomed to seeing people primarily inside their cars, but now I found myself amidst pedestrians on sidewalks and streets. What immediately struck me was how the faces of women around me appeared to be artificially sculpted, conforming to a certain standard of beauty epitomized by the Kardashians. Individuality seemed scarce, and as I didn’t conform to this specific ideal, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat out of place. The mannequins I had seen earlier seemed to reflect this prevalent atmosphere, prompting me to paint them in response.

This image draws inspiration from Picasso’s renowned artwork, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907). In my interpretation, I aimed to evoke a similar sense of “lost beauty” by portraying the mannequins with their grey skin, identical faces, and designed to conform to a standardized notion of attractiveness intended for the general public. Through this piece, I seek to shed light on the absence of individuality and the pressures imposed by societal expectations of beauty that I observed in the environment around me.

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Dimensions 60 × 60 in