Vanitas is an exploration of the impact of language and the use of words that may distance one from one’s body. These are carefully arranged still lifes, influenced by vanitas paintings in which beautifully depicted objects have metaphorical meaning. These still lifes are comprised of objects representing slang terms for female genitalia. In this work we are engaging language – making visual what is usually spoken. The myriad descriptive words for female genitalia are evidence of the importance and power of these body parts. By rendering these objects as drawings, and transforming them into cyanotypes, we explore and question how language engenders and maintains power dynamics. We seek to transform the ugliness and take ownership.
Sien Collective’s work mines mythology, archetypes, history, and fairy tale, employing the imagery of the natural and human world interchangeably. We are interested in exploring the contradiction between looking and seeing – how we mis-see and unsee the world(s) around us.
Siobhán Arnold & Meagan Shein, Sien Collective