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A word from one of the 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards finaliststs

By Nicolas Laborie, Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards 2016 finalist

It's such an honour to be nominated for the 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Award, as well as finishing as a runner up for one of my other works. The nominations have given the works a great sense of freedom and I hope moves us a step closer to greater gender equality, confronting art censorship surrounding nudes.

As an artist, it’s vital I create work that opens dialogue surrounding issues that are important to me, like gender equality and identity freedom. I feel proud to be nominated alongside other great talents in this finalist shortlist, and to be further contributing to culture, art and the LGBT community. 

With St Sebastian from the NUDA VERITAS series - the Wet Plate Collodion photography series I'm currently working on - I have a renewed energy to continue this debate, sharing it as widely as possible and driving a better understanding of the area.

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All genders have suffered in their representations in art and have often been misunderstood in depictions of the naked body. Society has sometimes deemed nudes in art offensive, immoral, and harmful… yet at the same time, they have been adored and embraced for centuries in churches, galleries and many other sacred places. In the fast moving and evolving age of social media, I feel this outrage has been reignited, blinding many and silencing art in its purity, ultimately robbing us of a naked truth.

Around AD 300, St Sebastian prayed for protection against the plague and became a martyr, shot by arrows before meeting his fate. In the modern day, art censorship continues to plague this line of beauty, strangling us to suppress our genders, sexuality and identities; leaving scars behind and toxic traces. Wet plate collodion is a perfect vehicle to explore, further, the photographic practice and this area of art which I am passionate about. 

Invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851, the Wet plate method is a process using panes of glass, coated with a highly toxic chemical solution as the negative. The method is a demanding, expensive and lengthy unique historic process, which can also produce a positive image by using tin or aluminium instead of glass.

With Nuda Veritas, each wet plate was born from highly toxic chemicals; each portrait leaves a trace of their own myth, pain, obsession and desires. 

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In times of violence and controlled political propaganda, the naked body only speaks of true love with an open mind, of divine beauty. In this series, I look at classical bodies across gender to feel a reaction to the effects of censorship of nudes in art. Let it be the glance that stares right at the toxic campaign to enslave the female nipple or the wounded fallen angels denied of identity and expression.

St Sebastian is all of us, threatened by suppression and censorship. Such notions not only affect the human body but also our identity rights.

Its time to expose Nuda Veritas: the naked truth, and thanks to to the Emerald Winter Pride Art award, the time is now.

Emerald Life Chief Executive, Heidi McCormack, will announce the winner of the 2016 Emerald Winter Pride Art Award this coming Friday evening, at the Islington Arts Factory.

About Nicolas Laborie

Born in Paris, Nicolas Laborie is an experienced fine art and commercial photographer as well as a filmmaker based in London. With his fine art work, he specialises in Wet Plate collodion

His photographic and film work has recently been exhibited at both the London Art Fair and the Affordable Art Fair, as well as various galleries Including the Royal Academy of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, GX gallery, Bo.Lee gallery, Amnesty International and the Mall Galleries. He has been nominated for the last two years at the Passion for Freedom Awards for his wet plate Collodion work.

His work is currently on show at Searcys Private Members club at the Gherkin and you can view his site here

EMERALD SUPPORTS
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Stonewall
Human Dignity Trust
Diversity Role Models
The Albert Kennedy Trust