As you see yourself reflected in the mirror of the painting/video screen (courtesy of a camera sending video to a computer that searches for the presence of viewers), the painted barmaid turns into a videotaped woman who looks back at you and may express distaste by rolling her eyes, or she may become bored by you and yawn, or if two people are watching her she may assume an expression of displeasure, turn and walk right out of the picture.
Or if nobody is standing in front of the painting, she may pat her hair into place or adjust her dress.
Don’t miss the video.
According to the artists, that bar was an infamous haunt of prostitutes, but the barmaid was no prostitute, and resented it when anyone treated her like one.
“We wanted to empower this woman in the painting so that she could express her displeasure at people who would stare at her as if they could have her,” explains Bilal. “She was used to men staring at her like she was a prostitute and it disgusted her.”