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Anne Polashenski

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The setting is the Ottoman Empire and all of the Sultans have been stripped of their Kaftans.
I have stolen these ornate robes and incorporated them into Turkish Delight, a series of mixed media works that addresses the status of women through dress. Traditionally, only Ottoman Sultans wore Imperial Kaftans, but I am placing women in these elaborate robes. The women in Turkish Delight are camouflaged within the painted textile patterns. They become invisible or merged with their surroundings through a process of layering, some almost to the point of obliteration. Turkish Delight implies that women are objectified as "eye-candy," an experience that women confront everyday in almost all cultures. It seems that camouflage could be a powerful way to protect oneself (in this case the woman exercises power in becoming invisible and therefore protected) but taken to an extreme, the woman is in danger of disappearing altogether.

The Turkish Delight Flimflams, a series created after the Turkish Delight works, exhibit Ottoman Sultans stripped of their kaftans and dressed in female
clothing - corsets, crinolines, ballerina costumes and the like. Stamped images and painted patterns interact with drawings of the Ottoman Sultans (primarily the heads). These pieces move further into the realm of fantasy and absurdity than the other works. The male figures are locked into place by ornate Turkish patterns and are confronted by the absurdity of their dress. Are these Sultans trapped, or are they free? With regard to their dress, I leave it to the viewer to decide.

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