Standards of Beauty
What’s beautiful to you? What does this work of art make you think about women in your own community and culture? Who might you want to be in dialogue with to better understand this painting?
Rozeal uses the title of this work, a play on Aphrodite, ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, to present a cross-cultural rebellion on beauty ideals that traverses the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
Rozeal spent time in Japan through a fellowship program and became interested in the ganguro style, whereby young Japanese women counter traditional beauty norms by wearing skin-darkening makeup, dying their long hair blonde, and applying long nail tips. As a DJ and performance artist, Rozeal underscores ganguro’s references to African American hip-hop culture—seen in the words “back and forth” repeated in the background, a quotation from the song “Whip My Hair” by Willow Smith, while music discs frame the figure. The stylized appearance and pose of the figure recall Japanese 19th-century ukiyo-e prints, which traditionally depict a fantasy world of nightlife and geisha.
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