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‘This self-portrait is a demonstration of self-authorship,’ says Tsering Hannaford.
‘Throughout the history of art, the female form has been represented time and again by male artists as the object of the male gaze. In the case of [the biblical figure] Mary Magdalene her often-eroticised image served to transform a powerful female figure into a controllable representation, becoming a template onto which a society’s attitudes towards women were projected. While centuries have passed, women’s bodies remain a site of discourse for the culture’s attitudes. The pose of my portrait refers to Mary Magdalene paintings for contrast; here I have represented myself as the subject of my own work, and in this way, I claim the freedom of my own representation.’
Born in Adelaide in 1987, Hannaford began painting after finishing a Bachelor in Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Art History at the University of Adelaide. She is predominantly self-taught but has taken painting intensives in New York and recently in France. She has been a finalist in the Portia Geach Memorial Award four times (highly commended in 2014), and has been hung twice in the Archibald Salon des Refusés. This is her third consecutive year as a finalist in the Archibald Prize.