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Five important self-portraits at NPG

Five important self-portraits by artists Chila Burman (1957-), Susan Hiller (1940-2019), Rose Finn-Kelcey (1945-2014), Everlyn Nicodemus (1954-) and Celia Paul (1959-) have been acquired by The National Portrait, London.
According to a three-year project in partnership with the Chanel Culture Fund, focused to enhance the representation of women in the Gallery’s Collection.
Among this artworks Nicodemus’ “Självporträtt, Åkersberga” is the first painted self-portrait by a Black female artist to enter in the Gallery’s Collection.
About the artists:
Rose Finn-Kelcey’s preparatory study for ‘Divided Self’ uses photographic techniques to duplicate herself in a conceptual piece that highlights the paradox of making public, what is intrinsically private. She chooses to stage the conversation between her ‘divided self’ at Speaker’s Corner in Marble Arch, a traditional location for public speaking and debate.
Celia Paul reflects upon the history of female representation, making a powerful self-assessment in Portrait, Eyes Lowered (2019) that questions her own position within the artistic canon.
Everlyn Nicodemus layers multiple faces in Självporträtt, Åkersberga (1982), as she contemplates herself from different perspectives. Suggesting that plurality is part of her identity, her work recognises that societal pressures felt by women to fill multiple roles at once: artist, writer and wife.
Similarly, Chila Burman, whose colourful installations have covered the exteriors of Tate Britain and Covent Garden’s Market Building, uses a combination of surreal imagery and fragmentation to create her self-portrait. In Aphrodisiacs Being Socially Constructed (1988), Burman depicts herself dually – both a young woman, subject to prying eyes, and as a powerful artist, a fierce warrior, taking charge of her destiny.
Combining self-portraits, each taken at a different point in time, Susan Hiller’s Ace (retrieved) from The Photomat Portrait Series (1972-3) moves beyond traditional notions of portraiture to negotiate an original collaboration between the artist and the automated machine.

by Alain Chivilò