Sunday Artist: Sarah Maple

It’s artistic Sunday and this time we bring you artist, Sarah Maple. She is the bomb.

Feminist. Muslim. Young. Smart. Funny.

Image: One of Sarah Maple’s more well known photographic pieces featuring three versions of her. The first is Maple in her red burqa holding a sign reading “I WISH I HAD A PENIS” and the second version of Maple is her dressed in red bra and underpants holding a sign reading “BECAUSE THEN I’D FUCK YOU” and the final version is Maple dressed in a black business suit holding a sign reading ‘THEN STEAL YOUR JOB”.

Maple is the 2007 winner of the inaugural New Sensations Prize – that of Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4, for the UK’s most promising art graduate. Yes, she’s one of those Young British Artists and yes, she’s also compared to Tracey Emin. Maple opened with her first solo exhibition a year later in London and her artworks were controversial enough to mean that windows were smashed and death threats were received. Her paintings depicted her wearing her mother’s burqa and, variously, smoking a cigarette, baring a breast, wearing a badge reading ‘I Heart Orgasms’,  and cradling a piglet.

That experience “paralysed” her but a little while later she found feminism and hooray!  Maple’s works target racism, xenophobia, misogyny, sexism, sexual objectification, the beauty myth, anti-feminism and the art scene.

If  you are going to be in London in the next two months then you can see Maple’s latest exhibitionIt’s a Girl! – at Aubin Gallery, and in which case, I’m jealous.

Lately, for her new series of feminist artworks, she has been channelling her inner Disney Princess, donning various shiny nylon costumes – “eBay’s finest!” – and photographing herself hard at work in traditionally “male” environments. There’s Sleeping Beauty performing open-heart surgery in a pink tiara. There’s the Little Mermaid, running a boardroom meeting in tangerine wig and glistening fishtail. And there’s Belle, in a gold, ruffled ballgown, screaming at the ref from the dugout – self-portrait as fairytale football manager.

Other get-ups are less elaborate, but no less striking. One recent portrait shows the 27-year-old artist squeezed into a schoolgirl outfit from Ann Summers – ill-fitting mini-kilt, white knee-high socks, blonde pigtails – sulkily holding a sign that reads ‘I’M IN MY PRIME’. For her full-length portrait of a ‘female artist’, meanwhile, she popped on a nude bodysuit and accessorised with heels, plastic breasts and giant pubic wig.

Fall in love and see more of Maple’s work at her website here. And you can follow her on twitter – @MsMapes



Categories: arts & entertainment, gender & feminism, media, religion

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2 replies

  1. OH! I’m so glad you wrote about her 🙂 she is FANTASTIC, when I discovered her stuff a while ago I emailed her to tell her just how much I love it 🙂 she combines so many things I love in art. Bit like Barbara Kruger for the 21st century!

  2. *Point of pedantry: I thought that was a red galabeya and a black/patterned hijab?
    I really enjoy Sarah Maple’s work. The fact that her identity and the visual signifiers of various parts of her identity (things she chooses to wear, like a hijab or t-shirt or parts of her self, like her underarm hair as an adult/mature signifier)is part of her work is something I really dig.

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