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Hatty Nestor

MA work

Ethical Portraits

The representations of individuals within penological structures are intrinsically linked to how ‘criminals’ are portrayed, perceived and have their selfhood is removed by these frameworks. Conceptually Ethical Portraits considers the functions of autonomy, agency and empowerment for the incarcerated, and questions the ethical duty of candid representation by the artist implicated in and by their depiction. What does it mean for these subjects who are detained to be represented and assert their identity when marginalised within the prison industrial complex? How do ‘criminals’ and non criminals exhibit this loss of agency via modes of artistic freedom?

Conducted through interviews with Alicia Neal (Chelsea Manning portrait artist) Priscilla Coleman (Courtroom artist), Alyse Emdur (Prison Landscapes Author) and Andrew Tider and Jeff Greenspan (Captured Project) Ethical Portraits considers the representations of individuals through the lens of Visibility, Empathy, Accountability and Freedom. As political advocates, and depictions within the criminal justice system, these artists influence and control the societal perception of ‘criminality’ and the implementation of how portraiture functions within this the context of justice and the carceral system.


  • Hatty Nester
  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2017

  • Social and Transformative Justice, Community Accountability

    Conditions of visibility - the constraints and ethics informing freedom and situations where it can be reimagined (what it means to belong)

    Radical Empathy and Care (how it is negotiated) 

    Political portraits and the power dynamics they present (representation and what is lost/found through it’s process)

    Ideas of coming into being through the act of another 

    Self Narrative and Auto-ethnography 

  • Degrees

  • BA Art History, Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, 2014
  • Awards

  • RCA Fund Full Scholarship 2015; Best Final Major Project on the Critical Writing in Art & Design programme, RCA, 2017