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28 October 2014

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Bringing a Coventry legend right up to date

Go Diva Out to Lunch by Pat Shenstone
Go-Diva Out to Lunch by Pat Shenstone
Go-Diva is the modern face of Coventry's greatest legend, featured in Pat Shenstone's gorgeously sticky, gooey, fleshy, self indulgent and fun pictures.

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Artist Pat Shenstone has created a modern version of Lady Godiva. The character, Go-Diva, can be seen getting a hair cut, dancing round her handbag or 'out to lunch'. Just imagine.
 Bakewells by Pat Shenstone
Bakewells by Pat Shenstone
Pat attended Coventry School of Art in the 1950s and, after raising a family, went back to the college to work as a full time lecturer.

Throughout this time she continued to paint and exhibit work locally. She went on to be senior lecturer at Lanchester University and Head of Department at Coventry University.

See the Go-Diva pictures

Click the images button below to launch a gallery of Pat Shenstone's pictures.

images button

Pat described her work:

Having retired from full time employment I moved to Maidenhead where I now look after my grandchildren and continue to draw and paint. Since the mid 90s I've been working on separate but related themes. These are:

· Examining Godiva and the myths surrounding her, changing her from a Saxon Lady to a twenty first century Diva, inventing new myths and a new context in which to view her.

· Personal identity in relation to gender and the position women choose for themselves in society.

· Ripe fruit, sweet food and over sized blooms.

· Having fun, a tongue in cheek look at how women occupy themselves at work and at play.

Paintings 2002 - 2003

I got interested in the legends about Lady Godiva when I was teaching at Coventry University. Research revealed that Godiva owned the City of Coventry; any taxes imposed on the citizens were imposed by Godiva, it is unlikely then that she made any sort of protest clothed or unclothed.

The story of Godiva riding her great white horse through the streets of Coventry, naked, has persisted through the centuries. Peeping Tom, introduced three hundred years after the death of Godiva in 1067, takes on a voyeuristic role, he alone is the viewer.

The Godiva procession started as burlesque, sources of the myths relate to power, gender, and fertility. Godiva provides me a female icon that I can transform into a modern day Diva. Go-Diva I call her, a woman of the twenty first century.

The Go-Diva paintings all tell of strong self willed women, women who know what they want and are prepared to go get it. Sometimes seductive, often cunning, with motives difficult to fully understand, go-diva leaves behind what she does not need, she is in charge.

Women are again in control in the 'Having Fun' series, they are quite often provocative. Both series of paintings are matched in their seductiveness by the pictures of sweet food, ripe fruit and over sized blooms. There is an underlying narrative in the work that asks more questions of the viewer than they provide answers.

Go-Diva has a peep show relationship with the audience; she knows she is the object of erotic gaze.

How will the narrative continue? What new myths will emerge? How will she be viewed in the future? Go-Diva!

Your comments

Maggi Toner-Edgar emailed us to say: "I love the Pat Shenstone images. They are dynamic and witty."

What do you think? Email us with your coments using the link on the top right.

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