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Norfolk teacher exhibits her innovative take on the selfie in Qatar art exhibition

PUBLISHED: 19:21 31 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:03 01 April 2016

Androulla Michael, who teaches art at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston, had work from her My Diary #Selfie of a Nobody (365 days) 2015 project on display in the The Art Lab exhibition which ran alongside the Art for Tomorrow conference in Doha. Photo: Kevin J. Larkin.

Androulla Michael, who teaches art at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston, had work from her My Diary #Selfie of a Nobody (365 days) 2015 project on display in the The Art Lab exhibition which ran alongside the Art for Tomorrow conference in Doha. Photo: Kevin J. Larkin.

Kevin J. Larkin

Cotton swabs used to remove make-up may seem likely unlikely art, but a Norfolk teacher has had her innovative take on the selfie showcased on the world stage at a prestigious event in Qatar.

Androulla Michael, who teaches art at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston, had work from her My Diary #Selfie of a Nobody (365 days) 2015 project on display in the The Art Lab exhibition which ran alongside the Art for Tomorrow conference in Doha. Photo: submitted.Androulla Michael, who teaches art at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston, had work from her My Diary #Selfie of a Nobody (365 days) 2015 project on display in the The Art Lab exhibition which ran alongside the Art for Tomorrow conference in Doha. Photo: submitted.

Androulla Michael, who teaches art at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston, had work from her My Diary #Selfie of a Nobody (365 days) 2015 project on display in the The Art Lab exhibition which ran alongside the Art for Tomorrow conference in Doha.

The event, which was organised by The New York Times, ran from March 12 to 15 and saw a number of internationally renowned art figures take to the conference stage, including Marina Abramovic and Jeff Koons.

Miss Michael, 32, who lives in Great Yarmouth, said: “I feel honoured to have been invited by The New York Times to represent East Norfolk Sixth Form College and exhibit my work. It truly was an inspirational experience and to be among the most influential figures of the art world was a once in a lifetime experience.”

For more than a decade Miss Michael has kept an ongoing selfie diary of her life by recording the daily removal of her make-up, and she said she became fascinated by the colours and textures created and what they said about her emotions and experiences as a human being.

My Diary #Selfie of a Nobody (365 days) 2015 features the original cotton swabs Miss Michael has used throughout last year alongside large prints that have been made of each of them.

“Basically they are selfies but subverted selfies, selfies that are inside out,” said Miss Michael.

“Rather than putting on a mask for the camera, I am taking mine off. It is more than skin deep.”

Five of Miss Michael’s prints and corresponding cotton swabs from My Diary #Selfie of a Nobody (365 days) 2015 featured in the exhibition in Doha.

“I was overwhelmed with the response my work gained and so pleased to discover how the young people of Doha were able to connect with it,” Miss Michael said.

She hopes that in the future she will be able to hold a solo exhibition featuring the entire work.

Dr Catherine Richards, principal of East Norfolk Sixth Form College, said: “I am immensely proud of Androulla and congratulate her on this fantastic achievement. Exhibiting her work at such a prestigious event, with other world renowned artists is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am delighted that she was happy to represent the college and allow us to share in her success. Our students will really benefit from Androulla’s experience and we are excited to see the positive benefits from this in our classroom.”

Louise Hunter, managing director of Summerhouse Media and curator of the exhibition, said: “The New York Times Art for Tomorrow conference aims to explore how urban environments can be powerful sources of creative energy that generate numerous social and economic benefits. To bring this mission to life we created The Art Lab at this year’s event, which showcased the work of artists such as Androulla Michael.”

For more about Art for Tomorrow, visit www.artfortomorrow.com

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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