Erin Riley, a Brooklyn based textile artist, has been weaving a tale of repression sexuality. Her tapestries depicting women taking nude ‘selfies’ is acting as an poignant reminder that women are still shamed for being proud of their bodies.
Riley got her first sewing machine when she was eight, starting her life-long fascination for textiles and all things cloth. The juxtaposition between this very traditional medium and a very modern subject matter adds to the depth and meaning of her work which she began work on in 2009.
She told‘I was inspired by how women were starting to live their lives online in a sexual manner and the backlash or support that was given.’
In the past, leaked naked photos of celebrities always caused a scandal. The infamous pics of Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lawrence have caused quite a stir this past year. However, Lawrence publicly spoke out and claimed their nude photos, highlighting how women are increasingly being open with their bodies. While Lawrence did not choose to put the photos out into the world, by saying she was the person in the pictures she owned her sexuality rather than hide from it. Recently, women are deliberately uploading sexualised photos of themselves.
American artist Molly Soda recently uploaded her own nude selfies online to explore vulnerability in a digital world. Soda’s release of her own nude photos allowed her to claim authority over her own body.
Similarly, Riley’s tapestries show women owning their ‘sexiness’ as a normal part of everyday lives and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Riley told Metro: ‘The internet is always changing, in the beginning it was all about shock and awe, most often women’s photos were being stolen, hacked, traded like playing cards and now women are the publishers.
We are accepting our sexuality and putting it out there because it is OK to be sexy, that doesn’t lessen our intellect or interests in other things.”
See more on Riley’s site here