Censored Art Exhibit: An Interview with Amanda Ladymon By: Mary Catherine Ballou  

censored Opening on Friday, June Third at Frame of Mind Gallery, Censored showcases pieces by local artists inspired by social media’s impact on body image.  Curated by visual artist Amanda Ladymon, in conjunction with photographer Jim Dukes, Censored challenges and questions the influence of technology-drenched culture on body perception, revealed through various mediums and perspectives.  Contributing artists include Jarid Lyfe Brown, Jim Dukes, Diana Farfan, Alejandro Garcia-Lemos, Jennifer Hill, Julie Jacobson, Michael Krajewski, Amanda Ladymon, and Whitney LeJeune.  Ladymon, a local artist, educator, writer, parent, and owner of Ladybug Art Studios, kindly agreed to share her insight on the motives behind Censored.


Jasper: What was the impetus for creating the Censored exhibit?

Ladymon: “Some photos of my semi-nude three-year-old daughter were reported by an unknown Facebook friend, which temporarily shut down my account.  I was shocked and confused by this (because let's face it - children all look exactly the same from the waist up when they're that young - we all have nipples and a belly button) - but also quite amused! … While my photos were not in violation of the [Facebook] policy, it left me really puzzled, why are Americans so uptight about the human body?!  And even further, why are Americans so uptight about things that they may not relate to or understand?!  My friend and fellow Artist Jim Dukes and I immediately started messaging and talking with each other about what had happened and the spark for a group art exhibition happened … Together we compiled a list of artists we had either exhibited with previously or artists I had worked with on exhibitions … I have the great privilege of knowing so many amazing artists and it was easy to find a handful of willing participants whom would appreciate our vision.”


Jasper: What role does Jim Dukes play in the event?

Ladymon: “He's sort of my right hand man.  He helped me construct the mission statement for the show, he has brainstormed frequently with me, done some photo shoots, and created the fantastic Exhibition Image for Facebook.”


Jasper: How do you think people will react to this exhibit?

Ladymon: “I anticipate it's going to be a mixed bag - some may be shocked, some might laugh, and some might be disgusted.  Overall I just hope it makes people stop and think about how social media has controlled and shaped our way of thinking in the 21st century.”


Censored highlights the different perceptions regarding the human body.  Ladymon reflects on the “veil over everything”, connoting ubiquitous filters and Photo-shopped images.  An exhibit that one will not likely forget, Censored forces viewers to question their own perspectives as well as prevailing societal norms. It also confirms the universal impulse to explore, highlight, and celebrate the wonders of the human form.  Censored will be available for viewing at Frame of Mind, 140 State St., West Columbia, through the last week of July, with tentative plans for a closing reception and panel discussion.  Free and open to the public, this event is restricted to an 18 and older audience.