July 16, 2020

Can themes of identity be explored in art without appropriation of others’ experiences?

Claire Blyth, 64

I am drawn to examine how nature and nurture form the individual and I use the human form to express mood, experience and personality. This can slip into lazy cliches to depict types – for instance, a figure dressed in a robe or shawl to depict romantic peasantry, or a male nude to express strength while exotic costumes move into the area of cultural appropriation. After some thought and research I concluded that the only experience I have the right to use in my work, is my own – but, as I wish to explore what we share as humans rather than as white or Scottish or female, I also wanted to avoid autobiography or parochialism. I am trying to depict those points in life where an experience shaped my identity, and can be recognised by the viewer as an echo of their own experience and thus underline our commonality of experience.