Adolescent Girls, Adult Women

Coming of Age Images by Five Canadian Women Artists

in Girlhood Studies
Author: Loren Lerner
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This article examines the concept of female adolescence and the idea of coming of age by five Canadian women artists. Marisa Portolese, Angela Grossmann, Natalka Husar, Fiona Smyth and Susan Scott were asked to explain their understanding of coming of age in relation to works they considered most representative of this phase. For each artist there is a summary of the interview and an analysis of the pictures singled out for discussion. The findings suggest no easy definition of coming of age. The images created by these women are based on autobiographical sources, their experiences as a young person, and present life circumstances as a mother, daughter or teacher. The works assert a girl's identity and search for bodily knowledge, and affirm female puberty as an intellectual and emotional reaction to physical changes.