I would like to introduce you or reintroduce you to a wonderful artist called Sarah Maple. Sarah is an artist who uses paint, photography, mixed media, video and performance to share her art with the world. A lot of Sarah’s work is feminist and speaks about “what it is to be a [women and a] Muslim woman” in today’s world. On her website Beverly Knowles writes about Sarah Maples work and vision as an artist:
Not for the coy or faint of heart, these unflinching, occasionally even controversial, investigations into what it is to be a woman and a Muslim in 21st century Britain are made joyful by her own very personal brand of boisterous, tongue-in-cheek humour. This is not sensationalism for sensationalism’s sake, but rather a heartfelt urge by a twenty-seven-year old artist of great sincerity and talent, for the viewer to look again, and this time with a more questioning eye, at traditionally accepted notions of identity, gender, culture and religion.
But what is all the rage about one of Sarah’s latest artistic expressions on Twitter? It is a picture of her wearing a white t-shirt with the words “Turn Your Back on Page 3.” More specifically: Turn your back on the SunShine Girl, a feature for many men reading the Sun newspaper.
Sarah wants you to put your picture on Twitter and link it to @NoMorePage3 in protest of the SunShine Girl – in protest of the young woman who are supposedly what men and society deem beautiful in today’s world. But the truth Sarah wants to illustrate is that every gurl is beautiful and most gurls are not or and do not need to be a SunShine gurl. The ‘ideal’ young woman is the average woman – not too fat or to thin, or not beautiful enough. Sarah wants women such as you and me to put our pictures on Twitter to show that what’s beautiful is being a woman itself. The SunShine Girl is not what we should strive to be; rather we should be ourselves and not just another half-naked woman in the paper.
In the summer, Sarah’s most current work was a painting called Menstruate with Pride in Culture Cloud, an exhibit at The New Art Exchange in Nottingham, England. I think that this painting reinforces her message about the SunShine Girl. Even when a gurl is having ‘that time of the month’ she is still beautiful, no matter what culture or society thinks of her and how she looks; woman are beautiful just because they are.