Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Annie Kevans



Annie Kevans. Shakira, 2006.

In her first series of paintings, ‘Boys’, Annie Kevans recreated tyrants and dictators as wide-eyed toddlers. Her second series, ‘Girls’, questions our collusion in the deification and commodification of girls such as Britney Spears and Shirley Temple and looks at the continuing media-led sexualisation of childhood. The despots’ pasts are lost to us, the girls’ futures just as much lost to themselves, transfixed as they are in youth and beauty, leaving truth far behind. Whereas the boys had to (often literally) make a name for themselves as Pol Pot or Hitler, the girls were found, sought out; their image given to them with help from Mum, Dad and the talent scout. While the dictators’ childhoods were imagined, those of the child-stars are even now before us not just in films and videos but in the consistent tenacity with which their youth is maintained. The process of (self) invention, innocence and culpability touches both series differently. While the tyrants themselves were guilty, in the child-stars it is more diffuse. Often startlingly sexualized, they stare out of their world into ours. Innocents accusing us: for in forming part of their eager audience how far are we from being blameless?


girl, childhood, child, media, sexualization, fame, figurative, paint, portrait, Shakira

Brooke Shields 2Brooke Shields with Raised ArmsShakiraShirley TempleOlsen TwinsElinor FairCarmelita Geraghty

Stoke Newington, London
United Kingdom

Space Studios, Stoke Newington Library, 184 Church Street
Stoke Newington, London N160
United Kingdom

Text, images, audio, and/or video in the Feminist Art Base are copyrighted by the contributing artists unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.