Artwork Description

Mixed Media on canvas, stretched and ready to hang.

Signed on the back.

This artwork comes with an external frame

Fairy tales and nursery rhymes have always interested me for what they tell us about gender roles. Historically the female protagonist was a passive participant in her own story, yet these traditional fairy tales remain popular with the current generation of young girls. In this painting I examine old fashioned storytelling, using both text and imagery, to highlight the often complex and contradictory lessons we teach our children.

This portrait is overlaid with a screen printed image of a mermaid and text from the Sea Shell's rhyme. The mermaid, as viewed by the subject, references the fairy tale of the Little Mermaid and the recent elevation of the mermaid as a popular heroine. In folklore, mermaids are seductive sirens who employ their beauty and their voice to lure men to their watery deaths.

This is contrasted against the She Sells Sea Shells tongue twister, which is inspired by the Victoria- era fossil hunter named Mary Anning. As pioneering palaeontologist, Anning was responsible for the discovery of several categories of animals. The names of women like Mary Anning, who succeeded in the face of prejudice, remain largely uncelebrated in popular culture; hence the rhyme sits behind the subject’s head.

The painting is professionally framed in Tasmanian raw oak and is ready to hang.


Acrylic and oil on hand printed canvas fabric

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Stretched and ready to hang

This artwork is currently stretched and ready to hang.

It comes with an external frame.
Framed dimensions - 70.0(W) x 70.0(H).

Leah Mariani

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