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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The powerful, subversive female gaze

Sophia Hewson aims to speak about the body in a manner ‘alternative to patriarchal ideology’. Her self-portrait, a performative pash with singer-songwriter Missy Higgins, depicts a star and her fan.

Award-winning musician Missy Higgins agreed to help artist Sophia Hewson challenge the orthodox structures of portraiture, making her the ideal collaborator for this work. Hewson and Higgins are not in a relationship: ‘She’s engaged and I’m straight’, confirmed Hewson. Rather, the painting challenges the objectification of the female body in art, subverting a medium historically dominated by the male gaze – the portrayal of women through the eyes of men – emphasising the power of the female gaze in its stead. (Hewson refers to ‘post-feminist self-objectification’ in characterising the work.) The artist and Higgins are in complete control of their representation, offering the viewer a statement that is, overtly, wholly from the female perspective.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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