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Mermaids Make Waves (Not Ripples) by Elizabeth Barden

Mermaids Make Waves (Not Ripples)

Elizabeth Barden

About the artist

Elizabeth Barden says it has always been her fascination to paint people, noting that she is “I confess, a people watcher’. She has been a six time finalist in the prestigious Portia Geach Memorial Prize, a finalist in the Lethbridge 10,000 Award and twice a finalist in the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize in which she was awarded People’s Choice. Her work is represented in private and public collections nationally and internationally, including her portrait of Christine Anu Waiting For Zipporah in the Australian National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.

About the sitter

Amy Sheppard is a singer/songwriter of the Brisbane based band ‘Sheppard’. In 2019 Amy has used her social media platform to promote the #kissmyfatass social movement on instagram. The campaign addresses the prevalence of filters, photoshopping and ‘face-tuning’ being used to achieve a false sense of flawlessness, and the impact it has by creating a sense of an unobtainable beauty standard. For this portrait, Amy chose to be represented make-up free, unadorned, and simply beautiful, bathed in natural light. Her gaze is direct and determined. Having suffered bullying at a young age, and insecurities over body image, this is a message Amy wholeheartedly believes in. With her trademark blue ‘mermaid’ hair, Amy says ‘Mermaids make waves, not ripples’. Amy is a member of Brisbane Indie pop band Sheppard which she formed with her siblings George and Emma. As lead vocals for the band, she has become a high profile member of contemporary culture. Born in Papua New Guinea, she came to Brisbane to go to boarding school and then went on to study music performance.