What is this project about?
The project ‘Brave or beautiful?’ aims to create an opportunity for the viewer to explore their own prejudices about body shape and to reflect upon the impact of these prejudices.
This is done in a few steps. Firstly, by presenting naked bodies (and a few clothed ones), and asking the viewer the question- are the models brave for baring all, or are they in their nakedness, an object of beauty?
This creates a space for the viewer to be explicit in their thoughts on what is an ‘acceptable body shape’. The viewer is then asked to reflect upon a deeper question, which is, who is to say what is brave, what is beautiful, or what is ugly?
The project then asks the viewer to reflect upon how they outwardly communicate their body prejudices. Is it a look, a comment or by other means. What impact does this communication have on the person it is directed at or intended for? All of this reflection is done internally by the viewer and at their own pace.
The project then presents research which discusses the relationship between our sense of self (how we perceive ourselves) and our mental well-being. The question is then raised about the impact our body prejudices, and the way we communicate them, may have on the other person. In simpler and more direct terms, we ask the viewer to reflect upon the impact that their body prejudice has on others.
It is expected that in the process of exploration, other questions may internally arise such as: From where did I get my ideals of what a body ‘should look like’? How have I or my loved ones been affected or impacted by body prejudice?
Lastly and most importantly, by respectfully creating a space in which the viewer can explore their prejudices and the impact of theses prejudices on others, an opportunity for reflection and change is created. Once this process is successfully undertaken, the viewer has the potential to transfer the process and experience of critical reflection, to other aspects of their lives and thinking.
All content © 2015, Matthew Schiavello. All rights reserved.