"I've always struggled with my sense of self around my appearance, and for a long time mistook my traumatised perception of my body for gender dysphoria because the distress was so centred around primary/secondary sex characteristics. I've come back around to identifying as a femme, and feel like celebrating my body, but I get panicked at the way feminine nudity in art so often has a sense of an observer built right into it. I hate being looked at, but I love looking at myself, and I wanted to convey that moment - which for me, usually involves dancing in my room and putting on glitter and lipstick, especially when I have no intention of leaving the house. I worry that this moment will seem trite - how revolutionary, a woman who enjoys make up! - but it's been really instrumental to my self-acceptance, and feeling like I am worthy, like I deserve these moments of self-love, and like the great well of femininity across the ages is something I can draw on as I need to."
Paula Abul is a biracial, queer artist living in Melbourne, Australia.