Each of us may be unique, but we are not alone in our experiences. The more I learnt about myself, the more I saw my experiences reflected in the wider community where oppression and violence pervert creativity, minority groups are persecuted if they don’t ‘fit’ a particular mould, and women are degraded, abused or simply denied if they do not meet someone’s misguided idea of compliance or perfection. So what does it mean to comply or be ‘perfect’, and whose idea was it anyway?

Paper Virgins is about the modern iconography of the female form; how it began, why it developed and what influences those images have on women in our society today. What started as a little reading and a few amusing sketches, quickly became a major project when religion took a foothold.

It was after seeing medieval and religious art first hand in Europe, I realised that to comment on the status or representation of women in our society without reference to Western Christianity, one of the cornerstones of our society, was to leave the baby out of the bath water altogether! Even a white Anglo-Saxon female can recognise the often-disastrous effects on relationships between men and women of old style celibate, patriarchal religion or new wave ‘Puritanism’.