Cyberfeminist art: Reversing the Gaze


sajbrfem, co-moderator of anti-street-harassment blog Hollaback Australia, has been playing with the idea of the gaze.

Act 12 of her Fifty Two Acts of cyberfeminist art is “Watching Women Street Art”. She has taken depictions of women by Leonardo da Vinci, Gustav Klimt, and Alessandro Botticelli, and reversed the gaze by giving the women a camera.

I have chosen to make stencil art versions of women in iconic paintings, and (as inspired by the HollaBack site) given them cameras to record their observations. I have really enjoyed this take on the idea, I love that these women, whose sole purpose in existence has been to be viewed, have now become the viewers. I love the sense of reversing of power, and of course it is humorous, whimsical, and just a bit silly at the same time.

It was important to me at this level of the project to choose women whose purpose was purely decorative—although it could be argued that each of the iconic women has a certain power of their own already, the mystery of the Mona Lisa and her knowing half smile and watchful eyes, and of course Venus is herself a goddess—yet as they are reduced to being objects of the pleasure of onlookers they seem to me to be disenfranchised women.

The images are freely available to use and distribute. [Higher quality images are available by following the link.] Enjoy.



Categories: gender & feminism

3 replies

  1. (Sigh) Just found this in my Alternet feed.
    Helen’s last blog post..Crawling out of the woodwork

  2. Helen, I meant to comment on that link earlier. What an appalling decision from the judge. I think our classic art icons above should hoik their cameras at the perp’s head.

  3. Ugh, and me too. A shame most cameras are so light these days.

%d bloggers like this: