Thursday, 23 December 2010

Indulging my awareness

Matthew Black has documented the outrageous and provocative social activist group, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  Members of this international Sisterhood take on the identities of 21st Century nuns, dedicated to “promulgating universal joy, expiating stigmatic guilt, and serving the community.” Far more than street performers or typical drag queens, they use the art of drag to raise awareness for the LGBT community and AIDS/human rights activism. In Black’s engrossing, public-private portraits of Sisters in the Seattle chapter, he brings to light the deeper, universal question we each ask ourselves — who am I really? Visibly capturing the Sisters’ transformation between various personas, Black celebrates the universal theme of identity and challenges us to engage at multiple visual and psychological levels.

Black chose to take studio portraits of the Sisters in both their private and public personas to show that there is more to the Sisters than just their face paint and costumes. Upon seeing a plain-clothes portrait next to the Sister portrait, it’s hard not to wonder which identity is the real one.

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