Over recent years, I have been using my own body as a means to raise questions about the way society thinks about women. I have worked with various artists, including Anthony Connolly, who I commissioned to paint a life-size nude portrait of myself (right), which was displayed at the Mall Galleries in 2014, and Mark Longworth, whose sculpture of me was exhibited on Pall Mall in 2016. I am currently modelling for a piece I have commissioned from the Manchester based artist, Louis Smith. In addition, I see much of my naked 'protest' activity as a form of live performance art.
Through the medium of art, my aim is to directly engage with society as a means to reveal the way people think about the naked female body. It is through this public reaction to the naked body that we are truly able to judge the extent to which society is (or is not) comfortable with women taking control of their own bodies. Where society is disapproving, it serves to show that we still have a long way to go before women are free to use their bodies as they wish.
Through my choice of locations for performance art or exhibition I also aim to confront historically male-dominated spaces (whether in the art world or in academia) with the female body. In addition, I like to question society’s separation of body and mind, including the way in which the brain has come to be seen as superior to the body. The result has been the exclusion of the voices of women who monetise their bodies (compared with those who monetise their brains) and the neglect of women’s bodies (including fertility) in major economic and policy discussions, such as the causes of poverty and prosperity.
Academics need to go beyond the written word if they are to get to the roots of our modern day problems. As a powerful medium, there is no better means to do that than through art.