Photographs by Neeta Madahar.
48 pp., 17 four-color illustrations, 11x14".
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, personification is the representation ‘of a thing or abstraction as a person.’ In Neeta Madahar's new series of allegorical portraits ‘Flora,’ the traditional procedure of personification is reversed: here, actual women appropriate imagery stretching back to antiquity to fashion an empowering public persona. A favorite subject of Renaissance and Baroque painters, Flora was traditionally depicted as a young woman surrounded by reveling devotees bearing floral tributes. Madahar, however, presents us with a different Flora. Her immediate inspiration was not Botticelli but the stylized portrait photography of the 1930-50s including that of Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean and Madame Yevonde. These are images of real women whose bodies and comportment exemplify a willful sense of self-possession won through lived experience. Printed in process color on matt art paper, and opening with an insightful essay by Allan Doyle, this beautifully-produced artist’s book is bound in French suede covers in a first edition of 1,000 copies.