Posing with pulla – can self-portraits shed a light on our relationship with food?

Pulla is a traditional Finnish pastry similar to the world-famous cinnamon roll. In her self-portrait Symbioosi (2009) Finnish artist Iiu Susiraja (1975–) poses with pulla in a way reminiscent of the icons of Virgin Mary. In my previous post I wrote about art and its ability to offer perspective. Now I’d like to see what Susiraja’s self-portrait can show us about our relationship with our bodies and food.

First, let me introduce you to Susiraja. She’s a photographer known for her painfully honest and humorous self-portraits in which she often poses with food items. [1] What makes her self-portraits especially poignant is that she is overweight. In an interview with Kodin Kuvalehti-magazine (2014), she describes herself as “thick and happy” while recalling past shame about her weight and later overcoming it by becoming “openly fat” through her art.

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