February 14, 2021

What If The Potential Of My Identity Could Be Fulfilled?

Spencer Dent

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Moving Imagepietà, 2020

This piece, titled ‘pietà’, seeks to explore how systems of oppression demonise queerness. I reference the Pietà, a Christian motif that depicts the Virgin Mary grieving over the body of Christ. In the work, I sit as someone moulded by gender hegemony. I position myself as Mary and my clothing as Jesus, grieving my potential self in a society beyond the gender binary. Additionally, in wearing what is considered appropriately masculine formal clothing, I acknowledge that, despite its negative impact on myself, I am a contributor to these systems of oppression. My lived experience of gender has greatly informed this work alongside extensive artistic research. In producing this piece, I explored the historical connotations of the Pieta and how it has been appropriated by contemporary artists for their respective themes and topics. I sought to incorporate this into my context: What if the potential of my identity could be fulfilled? This piece has allowed me to think more critically about the importance of clothing in gender expression to those outside of the binary. It has facilitated a deeper and richer understanding of myself, gender and how these relate to clothing and expression.