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‘Have I Got Nudes for You’, December 2019

29 Dec 2019

For their last gathering before Christmas, Candid Arts Friday Life Drawing Meetup invited Spirited Bodies to present a ‘Have I Got Nudes for You‘ session, in which life models interpret topical events through dynamic poses and a light-hearted news quiz. Esther would lead the session, with me supporting, and Reni – a guest model – also lending her talents. We arrived early to organise our joyously low-budget props.

We had selected a mixture of well-known and obscure news stories from the past six months, with the only essential criterion being a potential for interesting poses. At the end of year in which Brexit, the election and Donald Trump have all been relentlessly and ever-more depressingly reported, we opted to steer clear of all three (well, it was Christmas after all). We began with eight short poses, asking a question about each.

Fancy trying the ‘Have I Got Nudes for You’ news quiz? See how you get on with the questions below. Answers are at the end of the page.

Pose I – 5 minutes

For our first pose, Reni put on an inflatable gold crown and proceeded to shred a copy of the Mail on Sunday before posing with its trashed fragments…

October 2019: Meghan sues the Mail on Sunday.
It was announced that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex would be suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday after it printed a handwritten letter she’d sent to her estranged father. Prince Harry attacked the tabloid press on behalf of his wife, saying he could no longer be “a silent witness to her private suffering”.
Question: 1. What was Meghan’s maiden name before she married Harry?

Pose II – 5 minutes

Next, Reni and I posed as if walking with great care along a narrow strip of cling film, which served as an improvised glass bridge…

October 2019: Chinese province closes its glass bridges.
It emerged that the Chinese province of Hebei had quietly closed all 32 of its glass bridges, walkways and mountain viewing platforms for safety reasons. This followed a series of accidents across the country, including at least two deaths, that called into question the safety of glass structures.
Question: 2. Who is the current president of China?

Pose III – 5 minutes

Esther then took to the stage as a footballer unsure whether to celebrate while I stood nearby as the referee, whistle in mouth, scrutinising a TV screen…

October 2019: VAR divides opinion in English football.
Video Assistant Referees (VARs) were introduced to the English football Premier League as means of dealing with “clear and obvious errors” or “serious missed incidents”, but in practice it has caused frustration due to the delays in reaching a decision, the lack of information for fans, and even some mistakes.
Question: 3. How many clubs are in the English football Premier League?

Pose IV – 5 minutes

Before our fourth pose I dotted myself all over with the tip of a red lipstick, then fled in fear as Reni came charging at me with a vaccination syringe held aloft…

August 2019: Sharp rise in measles cases in England.
Cases of measles in England are rising sharply amid fears that growing numbers of people are not getting immunised because of “dangerous” myths about vaccines. Of 301 people diagnosed with measles between April and June, 266 were aged 15 years or over and had not been vaccinated.
Question: 4. What 3-letter acronym is a common name for the measles vaccine?

Pose V – 5 minutes

While I struggled to wash-off the lipstick in the bathroom, pigtailed Esther posed solo sitting on a blue plastic bucket with “POO’S ONLY PLEASE” written on the side…

August 2019: Greta Thunberg sails the Atlantic.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg set sail from Plymouth for New York on a zero-carbon yacht with her father and a two-man crew. The yacht was designed for speed rather than luxury, which meant no shower and famously only a blue plastic bucket labelled “POO’S ONLY PLEASE” for Greta’s toilet.
Question: 5. How old is Greta Thunberg? Bonus point for her date of birth.

Pose VI – 5 minutes

Esther and Reni held aloft a solidarity banner proclaiming ‘#EnaZeda‘ in both English and Tunisian Arabic, while I cowered shamefully with a bottle between my legs…

December 2019: Tunisian #EnaZeda protests.
Photos MP Zouheir Makhlouf allegedly masturbating in a car outside a high school in Tunisia prompted women to share their own stories of abuse and harassment using the hashtag #EnaZeda, which means “MeToo” in Tunisian Arabic. The MP said he was just trying to urinate into a bottle as he is a diabetic.
Question: 6. In which year did activist Tarana Burke first post ‘#MeToo’?

Pose VII – 10 minutes

For a surreal tableau, Esther modelled a pair of white knickers with a hole burnt in the front whilst I sat on the floor contemplating an up-ended herb bottle…

November 2019: Turnip Prize winner announced.
This year’s spoof Turner Prize – called the ‘Turnip Prize’, for “crap art” made using “the least amount of effort possible” – was awarded for a pair of knickers with a burnt hole in the front, titled ‘Bush Fire Down Under’. Other notable entries included a full bottle of the herb thyme spilled onto a sheet of paper.
Question: 7. What name was given to the installation featuring the spilt herb?

Pose VIII – 10 minutes

As a dramatic finale for our quiz, Esther hurled an entire milkshake up the front of my body and thus we stood while it dripped slowly onto the newspaper-covered floor…

June 2019: 8. Farage gets his cleaning bill paid after milkshake attack.
On 20 May, Paul Crowther hurled his £5.25 milkshake up the front of Nigel Farage as the latter campaigned in Newcastle. A court later ordered Crowther to do 150 hours unpaid work and pay £520, including £350 compensation to Farage for damage, distress, inconvenience and cleaning.
Question: 8. What two flavours were the milkshake that was hurled at Farage?

Pose IX – 19 minutes

We took a short break drinks break, then Esther invited anyone to join her in creating a tableau of chimps / politicians as a homage to ‘Devolved Parliament‘ by Banksy.

Pose X – 19 minutes

Popular uprisings were the themes of our final two group poses. To begin, Esther and invitees took up umbrellas in the style of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists…

Pose XI – 15 minutes

Concluding the evening, I returned to fray and held aloft an Extinction Rebellion sign while others posed as protesters with hands glued to surfaces…

Quiz answers

After this final pose, I read out answers to all the earlier quiz questions. How well did you do in our news challenge?

Answer 1: Markle
Answer 2: Xi Jinping
Answer 3: 20
Answer 4: MMR
Answer 5: 16 – born on 3 January 2003
Answer 6: 2006
Answer 7: ‘A Complete Waste of Thyme’
Answer 8: Banana and Salted Caramel

The knowledgeable winner received two free tickets for future Spirited Bodies events, the next of which is set be Body Narratives with London Drawing on 25 January. If artist numbers there match those we had here, it’ll be another special occasion. I had been worried that attendance might be low this close to Christmas, so it was inspiring to see almost thirty people join us. I hope they warmed to our unorthodox ways.

Certainly many of their artworks captured the energy we tried to convey. A few artists sketched elements of different poses onto a single sheet, thereby effectively creating news montages. Just as we models look for new ways of energising artists, so artists continue surprising us with the imagination and talent in their interpretations. It was a grand way to finish life modelling in 2019. Let’s hope 2020 is as much fun.

From → Art

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