“There shouldn’t be a specific definition or blueprint for physical beauty.”
The fresh graduate student from the University of Santo Tomas College of Fine Arts and Design recently went viral on social media after uploading portraits from her thesis last year.
“The main purpose of this photo collection is to promote a diverse take on old standards of beauty by recreating classic art pieces and giving them a modern twist.
By gathering people who represent diversity as my muses, who in this case are people with various kinds of physical disabilities or attributes, we are giving new meaning to old ideals and redefining what is means to be perfect and beautiful,” uploader Ayla Reyes wrote on Facebook.
“I’ve always been interested in fine art and art history, so for my thesis, I wanted to do the study on something I’m passionate about.
While brainstorming I realized that most classic art pieces had the same kind of subjects: fair and clear-skinned people, full-bodied, and more eurocentric standards. And I know this is so outdated, beauty today is so diverse and is worth being celebrated,” Reyes narrated.
Reyes found some of her models on Facebook community groups while others were recommended by her friends.
“There shouldn’t be a specific definition or blueprint for physical beauty because what matters is inner beauty.
That’s why I also decided to not just recreate but reinterpret the art based on each individual’s personality or story.
I want to show that people with different kinds of physical disabilities or attributes are more than just their appearances, they are their own person,” she added.
Reyes said she shared the photos on social media to lift the spirits of those who think they are “different” and make them feel beautiful in their own skin.
“I feel like society should also do their part in adjusting their perspectives. Inclusion matters! Media has long taught us what it thinks beauty is, but the time is now to break away from those ideals and standards,” she said.
“Everyone is a work of art in their own way!” she added.
As of this writing, the post has already garnered more than 26,000 reactions and 17,000 shares.
“Medyo na-stress po ako sa attention pero ultimately, I’m glad because at least the message came across,” she said.
Reyes now works as a graphic designer for an apparel company.
Photo provided by Ayla Reyes via AdChoiceTV News (Philippines)