Words and drawings by Siân Irvine
Photo courtesy of Anti Diet Riot Club
We’ve been really getting in touch with our creative side recently at Ultravenus, what with the Let’s Talk Gynae paint n’ sip event, and more recently, last weekend I went to a life drawing session with Anti Diet Riot Club.
Anti Diet Riot Club’s ethos is to try and dismantle deeply-rooted messages that society gives us about self love and body image. Based in London, they “aim to spread the message of body acceptance, radical self love, and fat positivity”. In doing so, ADRC create a safe space for those fighting against diet culture, those who struggle with disordered eating, and encourage a mentality of body positivity.
At Soul Circus last weekend, ADRC ran a number of workshops, one of which was life drawing. We started with an introduction about how the session would run- that the models would become gradually less clothed as the session went on, that by changing the lens on how we view nudity will change our perception of what we perceive as a “flaw” in our bodies. We were asked to close our eyes and raise our hand if we thought we might like to model at the end of the session- that using this different lens, we would not be perceived under society’s beauty standards, but as something interesting and fantastic to draw. We then went through a series of exercises and time spans for drawings.
At the end of the session, we were asked again if anyone would like to volunteer to model. Three ladies volunteered- and all opted for full nudity! After this exercise was up, two further volunteers came forward. The atmosphere was electric, the support was tangible in the air and the collective mentality of the group was one of creativity and self love- there was no aspect of shame or guilt to be found.
As someone who has long struggled with food and body image, Anti Diet Riot Club created a space where I felt beautiful as myself and as I am. The workshop helped me to reconnect with what our bodies do for us- not just as a vessel, but as a home.
I am excited to attend more events by Anti Diet Riot Club in future! Long live Self Love!!