Rachel Kavanagh

In a world which adheres to heteronormative ideas about gender and the body, feeling disconnected from our physical beings allows for escape into fantasy. We are confined to our bodies, but they do not define us completely. Exploring the queer body through imagination allows for a catharsis which permits acceptance and freedom, without physical limitations and a disregard for how the body should appear. My work strives to capture the discomfort queer people experience in relation to physicality and highlight dissociation through surreal depictions of my own body.

This series of self-portraits showcase my body as an ambiguous entity, challenging traditional notions of gender. They were created using digital photo manipulation and image transfer techniques, where I physically transferred the image onto paper. This process establishes a metaphorical connection between my real self and imagined persona. We will never meet in reality, but we can touch hands through a veil of fantasy.

My work with image transfer strives to highlight my internal interpretations of my body, manifesting the symbolic, queer body in the real world. Through this, the works reject the limitations placed on queer bodies and encourage audiences to meditate on feeling disconnected from their own bodies. 


I am a 1st Year student of the MFA Course at Ulster University in Belfast, Ireland. My work strives to reflect queer experience, using the mediums of sculpture, lens, installation and illustration. I explore themes of bodily discomfort and dissociation, aiming to create a hybrid space which examines the space between reality and fantasy.