The portrait is of Turia Pitt, athlete, motivational speaker and author. It is an inkjet print on paper taken in 2017 by Peter Brew-Bevan for Marie Claire magazine. The portrait measures one metre tall by one-point-four metres wide and is surrounded by a wide white border and slender light-coloured wooden frame.

Turia is shown in what appears to have been a once glamorous, now dilapidated, interior. She looks up at us from a sofa she is reclining on. She wears a dramatic ballgown with voluminous layered skirts covering her legs and spilling over the sofa onto the floor.

The photograph is set in the corner of a room, slightly off centre, so that more of the left wall is shown than the right. The left wall is decorated with wainscoting, however the elegant frames and panels, once painted white, are patchy and grey. Propped on an angle between the left and right walls is a large empty rectangular frame. Its fine geometric embellishments gleam with bright gold leaf. Abutting the charred wall and visible behind the frame is a section of light blue-green wall, then a pair of double doors, all stained with grey. The doors have frames that were once white surrounding creamy-beige rectangular panels themselves accented by narrow frames in dark blue.

The floor of the room is covered by an ornately patterned carpet. Its intricate floral designs in cream deep-red and mint-green are darkened with grime and splattered with small white specks of paint.

Placed in the centre of the scene is a chesterfield sofa, its generous studded upholstery a pale gold silk. Over its rolled arms the fabric is torn and split, revealing yellowed foam padding beneath. The sofa sits on round, dark wood ‘bun’ feet and tiny brass caster wheels.
Turia reclines across the chesterfield. She is positioned on the right with her back leaning in the corner of the sofa between its arm and back. Her dark hair parted on the side is gathered at the nape of her neck in a messy bun. Turia’s face is angled slightly down and towards the right of the portrait. This side is in shade, while light touches it from the left of the scene. The skin on her face, as with that on her neck and arms, looks a tanned, honey-brown, but mottled stretched shiny and puckered with deep burn scars. Turia’s right eyebrow is fine and dark, arching up from its inner point then steeply down to end in line with the outer corner of her eye. Turia’s eyes are dark green, the whites bright, ringed by dark eyeshadow. They look up and at us. Her nose is straight leading to full lips faintly tinged with pink, closed, but smiling.

Turia has a deep ‘v’ shaped groove where the taut muscles of her neck meet at its base. Her left shoulder is slightly raised, with her arm resting along the back of the sofa. Turia’s right shoulder is dropped, with her arm extending behind her and over the side of the torn chesterfield.

She wears a midnight-blue and white ballgown, with an asymmetrical ‘v’ neck and large layered skirt. The almost black bodice has a fitted structural base overlayed by sheer fabrics, embellished with feathers and tiny shining beads in the same colour. The right shoulder is covered with a short puffy sleeve. The midnight-blue upper layers of the skirt are a haphazard arrangement of pleats and ruffles. Where many layers combine, the gauzy fabric is a dense black, in other parts, one or two layers create different shades and shapes as they sit over many underskirts of white fabrics. White tulle, a layer of more structural white fabric, and a final layer of spotted blue-black sheer material, complete the gown. This generous skirt and its expansive fabric layers cover most of the sofa, draping over its edge and falling onto the carpet, obscuring Turia’s legs and feet.

Audio description written and voiced by Lucinda Shawcross