For this project, I have chosen to take inspiration from the myth of Pope Joan and make a sculpture of a female pope. Pope Joan was a woman who disguised herself as male and then successfully rose up the ranks to become the head of the catholic church. The validity of this myth has been debated throughout centuries. Still, the story, I feel, can be seen as an early rebellious statement against the obvious inequality between genders. 
I decided to use software primarily seen in video game development as this was the simplest way to sculpt my work digitally. After the 3D model was created, I chose 3D printing for the physical realization of my sculpture. I felt it was a perfect way of creating a sizeable intricate artwork relatively cheaply, quickly, and sustainably. I think that 3D printing is largely accepted in the design world but not yet recognized for its potential in fine art; I hope my artwork ‘The Improbable Papacy’ shows how versatile this production method can be. 
I have chosen to blend a mix of imagery to create an aesthetic layered with symbolic meaning. I really wanted to engage and play with Christian iconography to gently criticize it, particularly its tendency to bolster patriarchal values. For example, the use of the papal throne as her chair or that the finish looks like bronze, an expensive and labor-intensive material that was used exclusively for sculptures of importance and privilege. I also tried to include symbolism for positive feminist affirmation. Tentacles are prominently on display showing the contradiction of octopi gender roles as opposed to human gender roles. The male octopi are the physically weaker sex and are, in some species, not even necessary for procreation. However, when mating, males also often die due to the physical damage inflicted by the female up to and including the removal of male reproductive organs. 
The female pope wears a traditional nun ensemble referencing the male pope wearing the same outfit as well through the ranks of the church but with added pieces. I also chose to use Dr. Martens in my sculpture, reflecting its powerful representation of punk and rebellion.
Finally, as your eye locks onto the sculpture’s face, you are confronted with a bored expression. She has ultimate power, yet she is bored. Through this contradiction, I hope to depict what I think many people feel about the progression of gender equality, a sad sense of boredom and tepid disappointment. How is it that certain groups are unwilling to accept the necessary change for true gender equality that is long overdue?

This was my 2023 graduation work for de Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam.
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