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Brave by Jade Ferguson

Brave

Jade Ferguson

Sitter

Amy Sheppard

Medium

Fine art print giclée print on archival cotton rag

Dimensions

120 x 68 cm

Representation
The artist represents themselves
Category

Sylvia Jones Prize for Women Artists
Digital Award
Performing Arts and Music Award

About the artwork and sitter

Amy Sheppard is singer/songwriter with the famous Brisbane based band Sheppard. She is also an advocate for the body positive movement, reshaping perceptions through her candid social media account.

Ferguson describes the work as, “both a Jungian nightmare and dreamscape…exploring what it means to be a woman in the current climate amidst the constant call for perfection. One in which women, particularly in the music industry are bravely speaking up about ownership of their bodies, image and rights.”

This is an unorthodox portrait where we don’t see the sitters face. It’s not just a raw and honest account of Amy, Ferguson says. “It is one of every woman who possesses courage within herself, to stand for her convictions and those things she believes in.”

About the artist

Jade Ferguson is a Brisbane based photographic artist who applies a fine art approach to the subjects she shoots. As an early career photographic artist, her work attempts to create an emotionally visceral experience for the viewer by capturing the unseen.

No retouching whatsoever was used on Amy’s body in this work.

"Brave explores what it means to be a woman in the current climate amidst the cruel constant call for perfection around body image and in a time where women, particularly in the music industry are bravely speaking up about ownership of their bodies, their image and their rights."

Behind the scenes

This is Brave. A vision over six months in the making. An image that means so much more than meets the eye. At once both a Jungian nightmare and a dreamscape, Brave explores what it means to be a woman in the current climate amidst the cruel constant call for perfection around body image and in a time where women, particularly in the music industry are bravely speaking up about ownership of their bodies, their image and their rights.

Amy Sheppard is a known advocate for the body positive movement and has been leading the charge in reshaping perception through her honest and candid social media account and e-newsletter received by thousands of women over the world. In 2019 along with her band Sheppard, she released Kiss my Fat Ass: a song lyrically centred around body positive messaging.

Two very different poses were taken for this portrait. One where we see the subjects face, the other where we see her hair as the only identifiable feature. I chose this ambiguous image because we are drawn into the surrounding narrative through exploration. Why would any woman in their right mind go onstage, naked? Who dares do such a thing? Who does she think she is? The many questions and criticisms this image might raise, leading us to explore our internal narratives and biases and challenge our perception of what type of behaviour is considered socially palatable.

My hope in creating this work is that by not showing Amy’s face, women as a collective can relate. We can stand in her shoes for a moment and we can relate to the courage it must take to stand centre stage, in the spotlight, owing ourselves, owning our bodies, owning our voices, owning how we show up and the space we take up in the world and being brave in the face of the constant criticism thrown at us both from the noise of the media and society but also from our our incessant internal critic.

Brave is not just a raw and honest portrait of Amy Sheppard. It is a portrait of every woman who finds the courage and strength within herself, to stand for her convictions and those things that she believes in.

No retouching or manipulation whatsoever of Amy’s body was employed in the making of this image. You can view the making of Brave on Instagram at @brave.bts