The Sea and She (2018)
The Sea and She – an Exploration of Feminine Strength
On this International Women’s Day, the 8th of March 2018, Che Chorley’s most recent series raises
the status of women in portraiture beyond the pretty, benign art object and shows us as a force equal
to that of mother nature. In The Sea and She, we move past the tokenistic existence as nude bodies
to be consumed for the male gaze and present only as subjects embracing their power, all individually
impressive people in our own right. Chorley captures us subjects stripped bare in our natural states, in
natural elements, to be appreciated for who we are beyond our appearance alone and how we
interact with the ocean – no two relationships are the same.
It is logical then that Chorley would donate all the profits of this exhibition to the International Women’s
Development Agency, which in turn will support women in Fiji and the Pacific who are some of the
most at risk from the impacts of climate-change-affected natural disasters. Women in these areas are
the backbone of their communities during a crisis and deserve all the support they can possibly
receive. By drawing parallels between everyday women in South Australian waters reclaiming their
power, surrendering to the natural environment and these incredible women in marginalised countries
who have no option but to surrender to their natural environments every day and still support their
communities, Chorley is not only raising awareness of these issues, but raising the profile of the
Adelaide women who make up our own communities and allow them to thrive.
Where the ocean forms our borders, Chorley brings us into the water with him and invites us to blur
those lines. In his words “The ocean gives life and takes it away without discrimination. It is our
environment; occasionally terrifying, always mesmerising.” The ocean creates an area of
simultaneous familiarity and sense of unknown for most of us, which is what makes it such a unique
setting. The ocean cannot be controlled, and we are at her mercy, often blending the shapes of our
bodies with her water. Less Sports Illustrated and more bodies with nature, not much is more
empowering than being in front of Chorley’s lens.
For most of us women, particularly from marginalised communities, this speaks strongly to our
relationship with the outside world. We often cannot control how we are received, how we can impact
our environments and how we can change it for the better, but we can sure as hell try.
Puteri Haneen Martin, March, 2018.
The Sea and She raised $1163 for IWDA.