Tag Archives: colour

Portia Munson: The Pink Project

Frieze Art Fair 2016 (Regent’s Park) features some fantastic work, including that of Portia Munson, who explores gender in a cultural sense. The Pink Project: Table, part of the P.P.O.W. gallery (New York), was first exhibited in 1994, and updated in 2010. The installation includes Portia’s personal collection of pink objects ranging from storage, to hairbrushes, to toys, to sex toys…

The installation explores how capitalism and consumerism has pushed the colour pink into the female psyche, and Munson’s interest in the cultural connotations of pink for girls, blue for boys (which is an absolutely ridiculous and illogical ideology, by the way).

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I previously researched and wrote about Portia whilst at university, creating my Final Major Project (Your Penis Looks Weird: Campaign for Gendered Intelligence). Portia’s exploration of how we consume gender-based products was hugely influential regarding the research of this subject in my final year at university. Here’s what Portia has to say about the background inspirations for her work:

I would say I’m an environmentalist and a feminist and what I mean by that is that I think that I’m really interested in this obsession with consumption that our culture has. And so a lot of my work is really looking at that. And I was born in the beginning of the sixties and just being a woman in the world, I feel fortunate to live in this country. Gender issues are definitely something I’m concerned about. Right now, my real top interest is environmental issues and how we consume so much stuff which also translates into polluting.

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The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is true for these insects as stunning pictures show their abdomens changing colour as they sip on sugar drops.

Father of three Mohamed Babu set up the photographs after his wife, Shameem, showed him some ants had turned white after drinking spilt milk.

He gave the creatures the brightly coloured sugar drops and watched as their transparent stomachs matched the food they were eating.

 A good palette: Some of the ants even wandered from one colour to another, creating new combinations in their stomachsA good palette: Some of the ants even wandered from one colour to another, creating new combinations in their stomachs

Some of the ants even wandered from one colour to another, creating new combinations in their bodies.

Scientist Dr Babu, mixed the sugar drops with edible colours red, green, blue and yellow and placed them in his garden to attract the insects.

By placing them on a paraffin base the drops kept their shape when touched by the ants.

The 53-year-old discovered the ants preferred lighter colours such as yellow and green.

He said: ‘The idea for the photograph came to me after my wife showed me some ants that turned white sipping the spilled milk drops on our kitchen counter.

‘I shot the photo in my garden to take advantage of the natural lighting and set a paraffin sheet with coloured sugar drops near some ants.

‘Even though I could get enough of a crowd within a few minutes, it required several retakes to have a shot up to my satisfaction.’

Ring of colour: An ant's transparent abdomen shows the colour of the food they have eatenRing of colour: An ant’s transparent abdomen shows the colour of the food they have eaten

Dr Babu, from Mysore, in South India said:  ‘As the ant’s abdomen is semi-transparent, the ants gain the colours as they sip the liquid.

‘The secret is the paraffin base, which prevents the drops collapsing when the ants touch them.

‘I really toiled to get a photo. The crowd always used to become unmanageable within a few minutes and while I managed my camera with my right hand, my left hand was busy removing the extra ants.

‘Once I lost the chance, I could only repeat it the next day.’ he explained.

‘Curiously, the ants preferred light colours, yellow and green.

‘The darker green and blue drops had no takers, till there was no space around the preferred yellow and green drops.

‘So I put larger drops of yellow and green, and smaller red and blue, to get maximum saturation around all the colours.’

Eating their greens: The ants seemed to prefer lighter colours such as greens and yellow to darker bluesEating their greens: The ants seemed to prefer lighter colours such as greens and yellow to darker blues

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