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Butterflies Are a Sign of a Good Thing

New visual approaches to counter stigma.
Addressing boundaries of emphatic engagement with the subject and an artist’s ethical choices. 

Throughout my practical and theoretical based art, I work across mediums, with a focus on photography. I explore forms of the female body, ideas of beauty, desires, taboos and sexuality. Subsequently, I analyze the interdependencies of women on social norms. I am interested in how society shapes norms that influence the representation and perception of women and how the female body can be used as a tool of power. 
In this context, since 2013, I have been involved in international research on sex work. My research has been based in the European Capitals Brussels, Athens and Paris. Recently, I have expanded my work to Accra, Ghana and soon to Havana, Cuba. My goal has been to reveal intimate and personal views on this topic that go beyond the cliché of sex work. The close and collaborative relationships with the sex workers have been essential. 
Over the span of my research, the awareness of my position as a privileged white person is relevant. As the author of this work, I have considered my ethical responsibilities to my subjects. Furthermore, I constantly question if revealing their identities could lead to harmful consequences. In addition, I provide alternative forms on the classic portrait. 
Finally, my research addresses desires and fears and reflects social structures and norms in a constructed surrealistic world of imagery. 


Image: Ulla Deventer