ALISON ASHWELL

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Queens and Shield-Maidens

A series of styled portraits of women garbed as Queens and Shield-maidens, including a self-portrait, exploring the concepts of Transformation and Personal Power. 
Women who have felt powerless due to past trauma, abuse, health issues etc were formally dressed and invested with symbols of power as part of an informal therapeutic process, with the final portraits portraying them as a Queen or Warrior woman. 
As a survivor of long-term abuse myself, dealing with cPTSD and rebuilding my life through my artistic process, I have become fascinated with the progression from Surviving to Thriving and the potential for Claiming and Re-Claiming of Personal Power through art.
The Beautiful Dead

A series created from photographs of appropriated religious martyr tableaux taken on a photographic pilgrimage in Germany. The bones of ancient nameless poor people were trafficked as part of a Cult of Relics, given new names and fictitious hagiographies, dressed in cloth of gold and jewels and arranged in glass coffins. Originally celebrated and revered, they now seem neglected and a dusty part of the church furniture, the original human being forgotten. My work visits and re-visits the concepts of transformation, empowerment and storytelling, restoring the dignity and humanity to the nameless skeletons, using modern portraiture post production techniques, delving deeper within myself to my past and considering my eventual mortality.
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