Say It
Chelsea Harper

Say It

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Chelsea Harper
California

Say It
Materials: Archival art print
Available sizes: 11 x 17 inches
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About the Work:
For centuries, Saint Sebastian has been a symbol for more than faith. A covert and clandestine figure, his bound and exposed form has long since represented faith, strength, and willpower, the ability to overcome trials and suffering. However, he means more than that. Over the slow churn of time, Saint Sebastian has come to represent vulnerability, sensuality, and desire as well, with guilty audiences looking on and projecting their own hidden hardships upon him, their own secret hunger and wishes. He first gained popularity after his martyrdom in 288 AD and then experienced a rebirth in the Renaissance. In modern times, he returned in echoes as a symbol, a secret nomenclature, a gay icon. His name has been used as a keyword within the LGBT+ community, much like the slang 'Friend of Dorothy', in order to safely identify others in the know. For millenniums and surely many more to come, people have projected upon him, used him as a vehicle for expressing that which has been silenced, punished, or revered. After centuries of being bound, captivating both the artists who recreated him as well as the audience that gazed upon him, Saint Sebastian regains his agency in this piece, breaking free from his constraints, inviting the guilty viewer to fantasize, to admire, to imprint openly upon his bare flesh. For this time, instead of being the victim, he has taken control, reclaimed his own agency and with a blindfold upon his eyes, he expresses explicit trust in his invitation to indulge in one's sensuality, one's desire, their fantasy. For those suffering in silence, he has evolved into an icon who represents a safe word.

Go ahead. Say it.

From the Tasteful Nudes Exhibition

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