A woman lies under an apple tree at night covered in sparkles. She holds an apple in her hand and one in her lap. Other decaying apples surround her.
© Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart, Apple Juice, 2020
Archival inkjet print, 60.96 x 76.2 cm (24 × 30 inches)

Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart is a Toronto-based artist who works in photography. She captures self-portraits in intriguing settings that she has created. A self-described hermit, Szkabarnicki-Stuart struggles with human relationships and often includes animals in her compositions. In a search for meaning in the mundanities of everyday life, she offers a short fairy tale with each of her works, which are influenced and informed by her personal experiences. 

In Apple Juice, Szkabarnicki-Stuart’s body is surrounded by decayed apples, while fresh ones hang from a tree just above her. Body paint shimmers in the soft warm lighting amidst the deep black of the night. The image references the Garden of Eden, but her body is not the idealized stereotype of the female form from art history. Instead, the artist accepts her body in the present day and likens it to the fruit around her. She is fully aware of a future to come, in which the body will succumb. The result is a coming-of-age moment that balances questions of spirituality with reality.