Maria (Melanie) Cleary

The Hero Within (Light jet print, 120 x 90 cm)

The Hero Within (Light jet print, 120 x 90 cm)

Artist's Statement

I started with this project three years ago. At first, I was concerned that the images might be seen as grotesque and/or sexually charged. During the course of the project, however, I came to see my own role as something of an extension of the participants’ strategies for self-display; to see that in making the pictures, I was creating another medium and context through which the apparent subjects of the pictures might show off their bodies to a new audience in a new context. In doing so, I have sought to keep intact the qualities of feeling that I found to permeate the emotional fabric of the competitions and events: confidence, pride, a self-belief expressed in unusual terms.

Artist's Biography

Born: 1970. Lives and works in Cape Town. Major exhibitions: AVA and Erdmann Contemporary & the Photographers gallery ZA, in Cape Town.