What’s in a stereotype,it’s a label to enhance or reduce an ego, and rarely one’s choice. Some stereotypes are flattering but more often used to insult or belittle. Defined as: a fixed, exaggerated and preconceived description about a certain type of person, group or society, it’s a notion based on prejudice rather than fact which by reputation and with time becomes fixed in people’s minds.
Stereotypes are born in popular culture and have a strong connection to language and graphic design. TV, Social Media, magazines, internet, music and newspapers are the most influential practitioners of stereotyping and wield enormous power over this projection.
Stereotypes can only exist as single incontrovertible truths and are vulnerable to interpretation and analysis, processes that might cleave the monolithic belief into several indefensible parts. This curatorial approach was thus designed to involve many voices, predominantly women, who would bring multifarious influences in an attempt firstly to neutralise the perception of the artist/curator as genius, a phallocentric tradition and secondly to shatter the crystalline integrity of stereotypical representations of women.
The exhibition “Beauty And It’s Beasts” was designed to stimulate contemplation about women both as subjects and as artists and raise questions about how we create, perpetuate or allow stereotypes.
The works on view were selected primarily from the collections of the Durban Art Gallery and where gaps were identified, works have been borrowed from other collections. The viewer is guided by wall text identifying themes and the voices of the collaborators bring resonance and add strata to the collections.