Bieber, Jodi


South African, b. 1966; lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa


In a reversal of prevailing voyeuristic visions of the black female body, Jodi Bieber’s Real Beauty (2008–09) depicts various women posing in settings of their own choosing, self-aware and in complete control of their bodies. The series takes a cue from the Campaign for Real Beauty by personal care brand, Dove—a successful marketing campaign that featured women, who were no professional models in its ads, allegedly to support “true beauty.” Alarmed by a documentary about the increasing number of anorexia cases in South Africa, Bieber felt a strong need to create work that examined how South Africans’ ideas of beauty had changed, while challenging the widespread aesthetic ideals of slenderness and perfection. The Real Beauty series prompted South African women of all ages to pose in front of Bieber’s camera, confronting the viewer with an idea of beauty not defined by weight, skin color, or supposed forms of "imperfection”—such as blemishes, scars, cellulite, or stretch marks.

Artworks by Bieber, Jodi

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