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Underground artist Stephen Acosta sheds anonymity for new 'Woman' exhibition


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Underground artist Stephen Acosta has shed his anonymity for an exhibition titled ‘Woman’ at Shoreditch’s The Book Club, celebrating women of colour and feminism through the medium of oil painting.

Acosta is dedicated to discussing the contentious issues of society, illustrating these injustices in his works. His upcoming show celebrates women of colour specifically, choosing to fight against the discrimination they face in society by giving them a positive platform. Acosta struggled to promote this message without his audience being able to put a face to the painter, however. “As an anonymous artist” Acosta claims, “I didn’t feel I had the right to make statements from behind a cloak of secrecy”.

A work from Stephen Acosta's new exhibition, 'Woman'. Image courtesy of The Book Club.

Despite previously hiding his identity, Acosta is rumoured to have worked in the studios of prolific artists of the contemporary British art scene, as a studio technician and painter, indicating his proficiency in several art mediums. Acosta is not shy of controversy either. In 2006 the artist was cleared of forgery in an international court case after his works were found in various auction houses attributed to other artists.

‘Woman’ is the artist’s first major show under his own name, where he will be stepping out from behind his paintings for the first time. No one will be allowed to see the work prior to the opening of the exhibition, with the elusive artist leaving his audience in the dark about what is to come.

Acosta says of his works: “Oil portraits line the halls of everywhere from galleries to universities, and if a woman is featured at all it’s for her beauty. I wanted to explore my own biases and open up a dialogue on the significance of portraiture and how I as a male artist can lend my skillset to exploring these spaces. Even if I get this all wrong it’s opening a dialogue about why more it’s up to women to celebrate women, and why men aren’t engaging with being part of the feminist movement in arts.”

Acosta’s exhibition is on display for a short amount of time at The Book Club in Shoreditch until 13th March. Tickets for the exhibition can be booked here.

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