An artist who has made a portrait of Justin Bieber as part of a fine art exhibition in Sunderland says the painting aims to spark a discussion about modern idolism and the history of religious icons.
Sarah Martin, who is one of the up-and-coming artists in the Degree Show at the University of Sunderland, places a halo of gold around the singer’s head in her work, Bieber Fever.
© Sarah Martin
“I started to look at idols in the modern day and how in contemporary culture we put our 'faith' into other idols, such as a teenager’s obsession with Justin Bieber,” says the 21-year-old Grimsby-born painter.
“I wanted the public to look at the painting of a young boy who has been put on a pedestal by the media and ask if he deserves to be portrayed as an idol worthy of admiration like that gained by religious idols in the past.
“Coming from a Roman Catholic family, religion has always been a big interest of mine.
“These types of idols in the modern day seem to have been created by media obsession.
"In the paintings I wanted to ask whether these contemporary idols compare to that of religious idols in the past, and whether they are worthy of this title.”
Held in a new art gallery created as part of a £6.5 million development at the university's Priestman Building, the portrait is on show to the public until tomorrow (June 21 2013).