a new art show is celebrating fat
'Fatter IRL: a fat art show' is fighting body shaming in fine art.
Shoog McDaniel. Images courtesy the artists, via The Creator's Project.
Art tells us a lot about society — our past, our present, our heroes and our villains are put on display. But it also serves as a mirror to how we see ourselves, or at least how we'd like to. Reviewing centuries of art, depictions of bodies serve as shorthand for the physical ideals at the time. Beauty is traditionally preserved. Long before magazines and movies told you your body looked wrong, art galleries did the talking.
This concern is at the centre of Fatter IRL: a fat art show, a new group exhibition at Pfizer Plant in Brooklyn. Curator Rose Budz invited 12 artists who identify as fat to explore and celebrate bodies through photography, illustrations and sculpture. Speaking to The Creator's Project she explained how society tends to refuse people with non-normative bodies the same opportunities as those we deem physically attractive. Adding, "I feel that the art world, as progressive as it hails itself to be, still has issues with access and representation and the neglect of fat artists is one of them. Even art that is promoted as queer or feminist usually feature thin, conventionally attractive, white women."
Interestingly the show had no curatorial intervention in relation to its theme. "[Choosing work that highlights fat bodies] was not actually my original intent when selecting work. I think it is telling that marginalised people frequently make work about their identity-based experiences," Rose continues. Although she admits she is hardly surprised by the artist's choice, "Fat people constantly have to think about being fat; there is no choice but to deal with it, so it isn't surprising that many fat people are making work about their lived realities."
FATTER IRL: a fat art show is showing at Re:Art, in Brooklyn, until 5 November.
Text Wendy Syfret
Image via The Creator's Project