Recreate Your Values.

The John Byrne Award is a library of creative work from 16-25 year olds across Scotland. Find out how to enter

Self-Destructing Society

Self-Destructing Society

Self-Destructing Society

Mary Legge

The title of my piece is ‘Self-Destructing Society’. I began creating this piece by painting what society sees as a perfected, idealised self-portrait on a piece of cardboard. My skin is smooth and radiant with peachy, rosy tones. My eyes are big and dark, and my lips are red and full. As a feminist, the pressure that society puts on females to alter their looks and conform to unrealistic beauty standards - leading them to spend their lives dissatisfied with their appearance - deeply frustrates and upsets me. Therefore, after I painted the original portrait I took a knife and quite literally ‘destroyed myself’. This piece of art is not only a painting but a performance, as the vicious attack was documented (as seen in my second photo). I aimed to obliterate the desire I have to look like this romanticised and unrealistic version of myself by literally disfiguring the physical version I have of it. I was inspired by artists such as Jo Spence and Judy Chicago, especially Chicago and Miriam Schapiro’s ‘Womanhouse’ from the 70’s.

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Chained

Chained

Breathe

Breathe