Orlando

Artwork Category:

Artwork Title: 
Orlando
Artwork Size: 
2000. h:56.5cms x w:44cms (framed).
Artwork description: 
Two dolls found in a bric a brac box: both identical except for their clothing and wigs signifying one is apparently male and one is female. I was reminded of Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘Orlando’ in which the protagonist changes sex from man to woman and lives for centuries. So which doll is actually male and which female? An interesting question in the context of how children are expected to play with dolls and, by extension, how both children and adults explore gender and identity. I have also used these dolls in my 'Flowerplay' series (see artwork 'Flowerplay (Arrange them both)').
In the background of the painting is a quote from the novel. The quote reads: “…of the complications and confusions which thus result everyone has had experience; but here we leave the general question and note only the odd effect it had in the particular case of Orlando… “. I painted it in gold using an old script called ‘English Courthand’ which was used in legal documents as early as the 14th century until 1733, although it was still read into the19th century. In this painting, the combination of legal text and ambiguous imagery references the current debate around the fluidity of identity.
Artwork Group Image: 
Artwork Date: 
1999