Vol 5 No 2 (2014)

Officially Unapologetic

Harmony Raine
Bud Vases in Process
Published September 19, 2014


These works are part of Officially Unapologetic (2011), a series of self-portraits and collages I created with the intent to expose and address pain and trauma, and to examine the power of self-representation as a means of articulating pain and reclaiming agency. I am strongly inspired by such important pioneering artists as Frida Kahlo, Hannah Wilke, Jo Spence, Catherine Opie, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bob Flanagan, and others who embodied the feminist idiom “the personal is political” by exposing their pain publicly through self-portraiture. The choice to reveal one’s vulnerabilities—even to the point of trauma and victimization—represents self-acceptance, empowerment, and control. It is in this way that self-portraiture becomes a voice for the silenced and an unapologetic act of resistance against pain and oppression in its many forms. Although I use a self-as-subject strategy and items excavated from my own lived experience, the works are not purely autobiographical; rather, they are meant to address broader social issues and create an uncomfortable tension between the personal and socio-cultural/political.