British artist Sarah Maple’s sleek self-portraits juxtapose confessional audacity with comic, pop-culture quips. They also explicitly confront religious identity. Although it is difficult to look at Maple’s work without thinking about cultural, religious and political issues, the artist says that her personal experiences, above all, drive her vision. “A lot of the work is about my personal feelings about my religion and it’s about growing up and figuring out who you are,” she says. “So the political climate affects me, but I think that I would have made this work anyway.” Maple takes a humorous approach to her work, which underplays the intensity of the content. In her self-portraits, she blurs the boundaries between pop-culture and religious devotion, portraying herself wearing a burka on Brighton Pier, or praying with bunny ears attached to her veil. “I don’t think that I am criticizing the religion itself,” she says. “I’m questioning the way some Muslims interpret the faith. I’m not saying we should all go and break the rules. I’m just saying that if you’re going to be a Muslim and pray every day, that doesn’t necessarily make you a good person… ”

Sarah Maple is featured inside and on the front cover of Issue 16 of Swindle Magazine.
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