Radical. Courtesan. Legend.
The life of Lola Montez transcends truth and slips into desiring myth. A radical and mercurial figure Montez exceeded prescribed parameters of femininity and ignored limits and existing conventions controlling women’s bodies. Montez toured Australian gold rush towns during the 1850s as a performer—and was notably the first woman ever photographed smoking.
Drawing upon Montez’s own use of photography to promote her self-image, Shelton has created a new series of works. An Instagram feed (@elizagilbertandlolamontez) created by the artist allows audiences to engage with archival material relating to Montez.
Commissioned by Photo Australia and the Metro Tunnel Creative Program for PHOTO2021