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Petra Collins

Petra Collins is curating a MoMA night about the female body

The photographer will weave both historical and contemporary narratives together that explore the pedestals and putdowns of women's bodies for ‘In Search of Us’

In an evening at New York’s MoMA, Petra Collins will explore the representation of the female body in art, weaving both historical and contemporary contexts into the show In Search of Us.

The show is part of PopRally, an events series with a mission to diversify the art world and encourage a younger audience. In a statement from the MoMA, the project is said to “confront traditional representations of the female body throughout the art-historical canon. Which tended to exclude bodies of work by such historical ‘others’ as women, gender nonconforming individuals, and persons of colour.” 

In Search of Us will include a three-hour tableau, an Instagram “digital salon”, live music from Junglepussy and a set from DJ Madeline Poole. Collins is collaborating with Madelyne Beckles for the evening that draws inspiration from Lorraine O’Grady’s essay “Olympia’s Maid: Reclaiming Black Female Subjectivity” from 1992. The essay addresses the varying lenses from which a woman’s body is viewed: “She is a jezebel and mammy, prostitute and female eunuch, the two in one,” O’Grady wrote.

Collins has also invited Art Baby’s Grace Miceli and Aleia Murawski to create videos for the digital salon to unpack how women are “characterised by autonomy, sexuality, intersectionality and agency” in a modern context.

Catch PopRally Presents Petra Collins: In Search of Us at the MoMA from 8pm on March 18