The allure of 19th-century women’s sickness was that “becoming frailty…symbolised an appealing vulnerability, superior sensitivity, [and] became more and more the ideal look for women” -Susan Sontag.
Flowers, as metaphors for womanhood, replicate this: delicate, pretty, to be observed. Even waterlogged and wilted, they remain grounded and growing. Due to chronic illness, I was made to confront my relationship with pain. I realised how intertwined my view was with the mythos surrounding it. Is it possible to cultivate an understanding of self, separate from cultural models imbuing our identity?
These flowers explode out of a yawning darkness, strewn across the image somewhere between their familiar form and something else entirely, subverting our cultural affiliation with what they represent. An exploration of the distortion between the commodified idea of the wounded woman (flower) and attempts to honour our roots whilst growing into our sense of self.
At 16, Uma’s first exhibition, ‘If Mothers Were Flowers I’d Pick You,’ was a part of the Head On Photo Festival. These works were awarded several honourable mentions in the Australian Photography awards, exhibiting at Agora Gallery in NYC after being selected as a finalist in the Chelsea International Fine Art Competition.
Developing a passion for nightlife and documentary photography, she presented as a Featured Artist in the 2021 Head On Photo Festival with her series “Facing Ourselves”. Uma was also a semi-finalist in Head On’s International Portrait Competition.
Her current exhibition, Through the lens of abstraction, explores relationships with the self, illness and womanhood.
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