Photography: Women on Sofas by artist Ruby Steele

An artist who looks at the space a woman occupies in contemporary western society has released a photography series called Women on Sofas.

Ruby Steele, who is based in Dulwich, said she created the series to show how women experience themselves in domestic and public spaces, while celebrating their diversity and power in unexpected ways.

“The women photographed come from diverse backgrounds and cultures and span eight decades,” Ruby said.

“It looks at the pride and pleasure taken in women’s strength and resilience, and in challenging society’s expectation of them.

“In spite of growing freedoms in many areas of society over the past century, the domestic space often remains seen as women’s terrain.

“The domestic space is one into which we are welcomed.

“It has been compelling to observe this space, disrupt it and take it beyond its ‘natural’ limits, all while exploring our emotional response to it.

“The sofa is more than a domestic object; it is imbued with symbolism and a rich history.

“ It holds a familiarity and is an invitation for togetherness.

“These photographs bring that intimate space into the outside world and ask us to reconsider what it means to get comfortable, and feel safe.”

Ruby graduated from London College of Communication in 2018 and since graduating she has been awarded the Michael Wilson Photography Prize and shortlisted for the British Photography Portrait Awards.

Ruby said: “The point of these images lies in the sofa – the domestic object – being actively removed from the domestic environment and instead placed in a situation that is unexpected, new, outside of the box.

“Locations featured so far include a church, supermarket, bar, field, theatre stage, railway station and a tennis court.

“The project carries a heavy symbolism in what it means to be a powerful women, and step outside the comfort zone expected of all of us.

“Women on Sofas says ‘I am in the world, I’ve made a surprising home here, and now I’d like to welcome you in.’”

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