Unfortunately, for millennia the female body has been held captive by the male-gaze and narrowly defined conceptions of beauty. To a degree this is logical. The artist's instincts will always be to choose subjects that he/she finds visually appealing and to present them in a way that is sensuous captivating.
However, the issue has been the limited of number of voices that have traditionally been allowed to create art and the way in which female artists have been left out of the conversation. This has led to an abundance of art that leers at women, creates unrealistic standards of beauty and veers away from simple eroticism into straight pornography. These one-dimensional depictions of women form part of a circular cultural conversation about femininity that is fuelled by, and in turn fuels, lust and toxic masculinity.
And so we come to Taylah's nude, charcoal sketches. To say they are inherently less problematic than male-art is foolish-- but a female voice is a good place to start. Taylah has attempted to approach the naked female body as someone who herself possesses one; conscious of her own insecurities, aware of a culturally-driven need to appear sexy, and also aware of the female body's unique captivating power.
It is worth noting that they represent her first attempt at sketching a live model, nude or otherwise, and are in many ways still a rough draft. Thus, whether or not she has achieved her goal of presenting the female body in a way that eschews male-gaze but does not deny its raw erotic power is not for us to say-- but rather is part of an open conversation.
And it is a conversation that is long overdue.