Sarah Bahbah’s $20K ‘Sex & Take Out’ photo will be on display at the Museum of Pizza.
Let them eat pizza.
Artist Sarah Bahbah is bringing an extra slice of life to the Museum of Pizza opening October 13 in New York City, which is displaying work from her 2014 breakout photo series “Sex and Takeout,” a play on food porn and indulging without restraint. Her underlying message is for young women to abandon judgement and embrace self-love.
One of her best-selling works is a photo of a seemingly-naked young woman lying alone in bed beside a pizza box and holding a pepperoni slice. It’ll be on display at the Museum of Pizza through Oct. 28 with an asking price of $20,000.
“This shot was totally spontaneous,” Bahbah told Moneyish at a preview for the Musuem of Pizza in New York City last Thursday. “I never expected it to be the most popular piece of the series. The meaning behind this one was just binge watching your Netflix series, ordering your pizza, eating all the pizza and not giving a f—k.”
The 26-year-old Palestinian artist, who was raised in Australia, is known for her cinematic photography that is typically accompanied by one or two sentences of dialogue. Her pieces focus on themes of heartbreak, sexuality, love and independence — and are told from the point of a view of a millennial woman. Her work has gained a cult following on social media with 585,000 Instagram followers.
Food has been one of her biggest muses. Her series “This Is Not For You” features a photograph of a woman sitting on a lawn chair scarfing down McDonald’s fries, and reads: “eating French fries looks so divine.” Images from the aforementioned “Sex and Takeout” series include a woman sitting naked in a bathtub covered with doughnuts; another shows a female model devouring a burger amid a sea of take-out containers while wearing just a bath towel.
While “Sex and Takeout,” is all about exploring indulgences — food and sex — without shame or restraint, Bahbah said its inspiration stems from her own personal battles with an eating disorder and childhood trauma.
“It was my way of embracing indulgence — indulgence in body, indulgence in desire, in mind, soul and cravings. Essentially, I wanted to be able to remove the taboo placed on women and eating,” Bahbah said. “I’m someone who struggled with eating disorders for a big portion of my youth. This was my way of being like f—k society, I’m going to eat what I want, when I want and not feel bad about it. My focus was to remove the shame around indulging and really embrace your body for what it is.”
Research suggests that about 1% of young women have anorexia — which means that about one out of every 100 young girls between ages 10 and 20 are starving themselves, sometimes to death, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. And an alarming number of women fat shame themselves for how they look. A Glamour magazine survey revealed that 97% of women say they have at least one negative thought about their body image every single day.
Bahbah’s art features ordinary women as well as celebrity muses like actor Dylan Sprouse contemplating his feelings for someone he loves in her series “This Is Not For You Part II.” Her work is so popular on social media that it appears to have caught Selena Gomez’s eye; Bahbah’s fans have accused the singer of copying her signature dialogue design style in her music video “Back To You.” Gomez hasn’t responded to accusations of plagiarism.
Bahbah says her work resonates with so many women because she aims to be transparent and outspoken — whether it’s about substance addiction, depression, abuse or relationship problems. And writing has been a healing process, she said.
“I grew up in a household that was very traditional in terms of my background as a Palestinian. All the women in my houses didn’t really have a voice. I struggled with a lot of childhood trauma. I was silenced for such a long time. When I started to regain my power, I realized I needed to use my voice in order to heal because I didn’t have it when i was younger,” Bahbah said. “Through my process of healing my trauma, I was able to engage with myself and my inner dialogue. The more I was doing the self-work, the more I was healing. My art is a big reflection of that.”
Pre-sale tickets to view Bahbah’s work at the Museum of Pizza are available now at themuseumofpizza.org and here for $35.
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