January 25, 2017

Gas Masks Required

Rachel Wyse


The protection of the environment and social order are the two values I decided to base my entry upon and attempt to express.

I believe our habitable environment is one we often take for granted, and influences our everyday actions in ways we may not fully understand until the situation becomes extreme. Social order is also a value which we often fail to take notice of, and which we usually don’t appreciate unless we witness the lack of one, such as during riots or the aftermath of natural disasters.

This piece is a self-portrait made entirely out of dictionary pages, parcel paper, tissue, watercolour paper and newspaper that I tore up and stuck back down, before using charcoal and other forms of media to colour and add depth. The idea to use scraps of paper first came from the theme of an apocalyptic setting, where resources are scarce, the environment has become practically uninhabitable and, in turn, social order has collapsed.

I believe my portrait reflects a subject that has to survive in desolate conditions without either a protected environment or social structure, creating a bleak, but possible reality that we should take great lengths to avoid.