#MeToo in Florence: confrontations on canvas

Themed art workshops to culminate in conversation-sparking exhibition

TF x
April 6, 2018 - 12:27

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, a global reckoning with the realities of sexual harassment and assault, many artists are taking inspiration from survivors’ stories or confronting their own pasts more directly. Locally, Paul Beel is one of those: drawing upon his early experiences with body shaming and sexualized violence, the established artist has decided to organize a series of #MeToo-themed painting and drawing workshops, culminating with a provocative and stimulating exhibition.



Why #MeToo?

Beel’s choice is not rooted in simply riding the zeitgeist wave: “So many art workshops focus just on the technical aspects of art making and leave the human and social aspects by the wayside,” he explains. “{Choosing a} concept like this for the workshop will also allow us to produce a tightly curated exhibition.” 


Beel’s hope is that participants will not only take away new skills and techniques from the workshop, but will feel empowered by their experiences tackling these issues head-on and adding their voices to a global discussion.


The two-day weekend workshops—each limited to 10 participants—will begin with a charcoal self-portrait focus, with an emphasis on creating and depicting identity within this medium (May 12 and 13). The self-portrait theme continues with a workshop on May 19 and 20, but this time using oil and a reduced palette for flesh. A final workshop on May 26 and 27, titled “Questions,” will be an intention-focused weekend, aiming to get participants producing their most meaningful and impactful work on this theme through critiques and individual support.



In the weeks leading up to the events, all workshop participants will have access to free online support in Beel’s Facebook forum. Group members will then have the opportunity to showcase their work to the public in a dedicated exhibition, “#MeToo #NotMe,” which will open on June 1 at Florence’s Onart Gallery (via della Pergola 57).


Beel holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of Art at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and completed the post-baccalaureate program at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, where he has also taught painting and drawing. His work has been exhibited in solo shows throughout Italy and the US and group exhibitions in Spain, Germany, San Marino, Switzerland and the UK, among others.



Workshop information

250 euro per workshop
Includes participation and some supplies; exhibition entry; in-person and online forum support

Contact: paulbeelart@gmail.com

more articles