A SIREN’S CALL Conceptually, I see my work as framed by current gender power imbalances that exist in our world. My personal experience with sexual assault acted as a catalyst for the themes I now explore. My incentive for selecting hybrid creatures, as the defenders against my internal evils, stems from ancient mythology. I further investigate the realm of hybridity through the moral ambiguities associated with sacred and profane lenses. For instance, Ancient Egypt viewed hybrids as protectors and intercessors who served as guardians, and I have chosen to use these hybrid creatures as sentinels that embody the female experience in a male-centric society. Further, the chimera in Plato’s writings were employed as a means to elevate the language of humans to one of divinity. Like Plato, I invented images that depict this higher thinking due to my own human limitations. This is evident in my hybrid creations, which I describe as sirens in the title, that take on these high order personas, a safeguard to my soul.

My work also reveals an ironic illustration of the male gaze. I’ve over sexualised these incongruous hybrid narratives to hide the true power of the feminine form to the naive male eye, like a siren. The stereotypically sensual nature of the hybrids disarms the viewer, as we are taught to not see power in femininity. For the inverted mermaids, the naïve choice of weaponry highlights a sense of defencelessness about my installation to the spectators, elucidating the gradual demise of mental health, despite the efforts of these hybrid protectors. Physically moving past these humanoids acts as a metaphor for audience members gaining unlimited insight behind the artwork, and therefore my psyche. My use of cartoon style and colour vibrancy permits catharsis within the incongruous visual narratives. This puts the participant at ease and removes the veracious nature and suspense of what lies ahead. As the participant is forced to walk around these larger-than-life works and adjust to their presence, I want the audience to enjoy the absurdity of these creations, while considering feminine power with validity.

instagram: @artsbyrans

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Rania Pappas