Neeta Madahar, Flora
In Neeta Madahar's gorgeous series of allegorical portraits Flora, the traditional procedure of personification is reversed: here, actual women appropriate imagery stretching back to antiquity to create an empowering public persona.
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A favorite subject of Renaissance and Baroque painters, Flora was traditionally depicted as a young woman surrounded by reveling devotees bearing floral tributes. Madahar, however, presents us with a different, but very wonderful, Flora. Her immediate inspiration was not Botticelli but the stylized portrait photography of the 1930-50s, including that of Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean and Madame Yevonde. These are images of real women whose bodies and comportment exemplify a willful sense of self-possession won through lived experience. Each sitter has chosen a flower that doubles as a woman's name, and each has contributed props to help fashion the fantasy narratives. With an insightful essay by Allan Doyle, this beautifully-produced book is bound in fabulous French suede covers. Published in an edition limited to just 1,000 copies.
- Nazraeli Press