A few weeks ago the girls went over to Gateshead to check out the first ever Gateshead Open Studios!
A few weeks ago the girls went over to Gateshead to check out the first ever Gateshead Open Studios!
For this week’s episode the HAWG? gang went to see the exhibition ‘WORTH’ by the wonderful Lady Kitt at Praxis Gallery (link to episode here!). The exhibition addressed the representation of women in the everyday. This got us thinking: like art, the fight for equality should be inclusive rather than exclusive. The point of equality is that it is for the benefit of everyone! But just like art, so many times we see feminist (and various other social movements fighting for equality) divided into the ‘right’ way to fight for equality and the ‘wrong’ way. Sometimes this can bog down the fight, making it unapproachable for those on the outskirts of the battlefield, wanting to join in but not knowing how and worried they might take a wrong step.
Our attitude to this, just like with art, is to start a dialogue. We are here to educate and debate. We know we do not have all the answers, but through conversation and debate we are eager to learn and grow. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, not everyone has to agree with them but we do have to respect them.
We have collected a few different resources with regards to feminism within the context of art. The links provided have information on feminism, activism, the male gaze vs. the female gaze and female artists generally doing cool things. We wanted to make sure that you have some materials to help maintain your arsenal of knowledge, or give you a starting point if you are interested but don’t know where to begin! To make sure there is something for everyone we have provided a variety of different formats so that you can choose to have a casual browse or a full-on deep dive.
And as always, please feel free to get in touch if you would like to continue the conversation!
The male glance how we fail to take women’s stories seriously // Long read
From Trump to Brexit: how bad graphics triumphed over slick design // Medium Read
Political art is on the street, in public space, made by the every-man and in plain sight. And in today’s political climate we have been seeing more and more of it. I am of course referring to the banners and placards used in marches. This article by Oliver Wainwright for the guardian explores how the art of the people resonates more than that of sleek and expensive political campaigns.
This article is not specific to women, but it addresses how our art and our images can be used to empower our fellow human and communicate a message of justice and equality…
In today’s art auctions, the ‘male gaze’ is going out of fashion // Short Read
Is the problematic male gaze finally becoming unpopular in the art market?
This art project shows men what it’s like to be harassed on the street // Short Read
A classic role reversal – art that puts men in the position of women who are cat called and harassed on the street. It’s not a complement
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict // Film
Saw this in university with my fellow artist (then fellow art student) Sinead Whelan and it honestly changed the flames artist I wanted to become. If you want to know about a fucking cool art bitch, Peggy Guggenheim might be the OG
Dial Down The Feminism // Meme
Memes are wonderful beautiful things. We are big fans. Rosie might use a Curation Corner to argue that they are fragments of a larger post-modernist movement within a digital framework, but until that day, there is this: You may have seen the ‘dial down the feminism’ meme, and here is a small piece on its origin. Feminism is too problematic? Hmmm, maybe it is you that is too problematic.
Indian women wear cow masks to show they are less safe than cattle // In pictures
Indian women wearing cow masks on the street to address the fact that they are more at risk than sacred cattle. Using powerful religious iconography to prove their point
This artist put Donald Trump quotes on sexist 1950s advertising posters // In pictures
This artist puts Donald Trump Quotes on 1950’s posters, highlighting just how ridiculous and outdated his opinion on women really is (as if we didn’t know already! But still very entertaining)
Celebrating the female gaze: women photographing women // In pictures
A series of photographs of women by women. A dynamic, diverse and thought provoking collection of images that is worth a look!
‘Girl on Girl’: Photographer Rose Willoughby explores the female gaze in delicate but deliberate portraits // Artist
( Artist: rosemaisiewilloughby.com)
Front Row: ‘Women and Sexism in the Arts’
‘She Who Dares: Feminist Artists’
Elif Shafak a Turkish author and feminist activist celebrates female artists and female creativity
This artist is turning all the sexist comments she receives on Instagram into art.
WOMAN WORLD by Aminder Dhaliwal // an ongoing comic about a future world in which women are the only people left on the planet, and the amazing relationships and scenarios therein.
Girlgaze // a platform to see works and art by women about women. They post great Instagram Stories about some amazing things women are doing and a weekly ‘Not Fake News’ story further exploring some major world events of that week.
A couple of weeks ago, Alice and I went along to the MIMA in Middlesbrough after receiving an invite to come and check out their new exhibitions. Alice and Rosie had been along before and did a podcast on their initial visit, but this was before their new exhibitions were there.
The three new exhibitions being shown this time were Making, A Life by Peter Hodgson, Living Beyond Limits and Tales of Valiant Queens by Chila Kumari Singh Burman. They were all amazing exhibitions and we spoke about them all in our most recent podcast episode. However, in this blog post I’ll be talking solely about Burman’s exhibition.
While we were there, there were talks by the artists on their exhibitions. We listened to Chila speak for over an hour and a half in what was meant to be a half hour talk, and I only wish she spoke for longer. She told us of how she grew up in a working-class Punjabi family in Liverpool in the 1970s and how the things she grew up with and experienced have influenced her art from then till now.
In the room, her work dominated the walls and took over the senses, printwork in vibrant colours, a video playing with loud music and amazing visuals, and who could forget the beautifully decorated tuk-tuk at the top of the room? Her printworks have been the main focus of her work over the years and each of them tell a different story and showcase different themes.
Some of them are collages that look innocent at first, but upon further inspection they contain some sexual imagery. As Burman explained in her talk, this was her way of expressing her female sexuality in a culture which didn’t allow it. Other prints of hers are much more obvious, including her body print in sugar which was shown in the seminal black feminist exhibition The Thin Black Line (1985). Burman uses her work to fight against stereotypes of Asian femininity and as part of the movement for women to take back control of their own bodies.
Her work also tackles issues of politics and race, with printwork which showcases her feminist and anarchist ideals. Symbols of immigration policies and systematic racism in Britain are highlighted in her works, including a print which shows Margaret Thatcher standing across a barbed-wire Europe and a British passport. It represents issues of colonialism and empire and it shows the struggle of people coming from Asian countries into Britain and the hardships they faced from the Government.
Her work is incredibly inspirational and frankly very fun to experience in person. Every piece tells a story and I truly believe there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this exhibition. I look forward to seeing more of Burman’s works and after this visit, I’m confident that I’ll be coming back to the MIMA for more amazing works.
If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our most recent episode of Hey Art, What’s Good to hear about more of the exhibitions at the MIMA.
This week the girls went back along to the MIMA to check out their new exhibition openings which was complete with artists talks, curators talks and a community lunch!
More information: here
Opening hours: Tuesday Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10.00am – 4.30pm
Thursday 10.00am – 7.00pm Sunday 12.00pm – 4.00pm. Closed Mondays and Bank Holidays
Last week we all went to check out The Last Ships by Chris Killip, a fantastic series of black and white photographs that present the viewer with a multifaceted insight into the declining ship-building industry on the Tyne in the 1970s. (If you haven’t listened to it check it out here). This was an exhibition that really exemplified the power a photograph has to freeze a time in place, and offer a remarkable point of reference for future generations.
Immediately after seeing this exhibition myself and Amy got the Metro over to Byker to check out the opening of another documentary photography series, titled Byker from the 80s by Tom Ingham, who lived in the area at the time and has recently returned. This too was a black and white series, photographed on film I’m assuming given the decade, and sought to document Byker upon the completion of the Byker wall which was a massive change for the area. During the Great Exhibition of the North the BALTIC had a great exhibition called Idea of the North (which we did an episode about), and as a part of it there were several photographs by documentary photographers of the Amber Collective. One of the series here portraits of residents who lived in the wall in around the same time as the 1980s, and I recall reading some information about the intention of the wall’s construction and what it meant to the residents of the Byker area, who lived as a close-knit community in Victorian-era terraced houses (much like the ones seen in Killip’s photographs). The idea was to offer the current Byker residents a modern and nice place to live and to remain as a community, however after the wall’s and the surrounding estates completion only around 20% of the original residents remained in the area, breaking up the community.
The remarkable thing with this series of photographs compared to that of The Last Ships is that I recognise the Byker area very well through them, as it hasn’t really changed at all since Ingham’s images were taken. And it is this that makes me marvel at documentary photography, and indeed any kind of photography of people and places: the images we take today are documenting what we do and where we live, and future generations might see them in a variety of contexts, able to compare and contrast them with whatever comes after us. The capacity to entirely freeze a moment or an era in time is something I adore about photography, and it is something I endeavor to do whenever I take my camera out and start shooting.
I really hope you go check out these fab exhibitions, The Last Ships is on at the Laing Art Gallery until 23rd December, and Byker from the 80s is on at Byker Community Centre, but you might have to get in touch with them to find out when you can visit (here’s a link with some more info).
Thanks for reading!
This week the girls are joined again by Amy to check out ‘The Last Ships’ exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, a fantastic documentary photography series from the late 1970’s.
More info: here
Exhibition: until 23rd December 2018
Location: The Laing Art Gallery
Opening Times: Tues-Sat 10:00 – 17:00, Sun 14:00-17:00
Back in September the girls went up to Berwick-Upon-Tweed to check out the first day of Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival 2018. They saw some cool art and some amazing films, so tune in to see what’s good!
‘Every visit to a museum prompts viewers to compare and interpret objects, but what does it mean to identify similarities and differences?’
The Bode Museum is a historic art museum located in the centre of Berlin. Like the others around it on Museum Island, such as the Altes Museum and the Pergamonmuseum, it’s old and has an emphasis on traditional pieces of art and specific time periods, and includes pieces typically found in other Berlin museums. The particular focus of this museum is that of Byzantine sculptures, and it is amazing to see such a vast collection of such age and from a range of different countries. What makes it quite notable, however, is the museum’s most recent endeavour.
The latest exhibition of the Bode Museum is one that places European and African artworks side-by-side, grouped by theme, style and history, in such a way that has rarely been seen before in such a space. As is written on the website for the exhibition, “many objects from Africa were defined as ethnological artefacts, while other objects of comparable artistry from European ritual contexts remained in art museums” – why is this the case? Why is one artistic and the other ethnographic?
It was a delight walking through the halls of this historic and ornate museum, being able to see the stark contrasts and unexpected similarities between these geographically and ideologically different pieces of art. One thing I’ve noticed is that art is often divided by era and location, such as the Italian Renaissance or French Modernism, and African works are often also separated, so the opportunity to see them together is usually quite rare. As a result, however, you are able to draw the conclusion that every society has the same ideals being creating these types of art, the same idols to revere, the same lessons to teach, regardless of geography.
Amazingly there’s an app which has images and details of every paired items in this exhibition, with far more information than was available at the actual exhibits (which you can download here if you want to have a look). And it is because of this I can actually show some images of the different pieces (because I’m a fool who forgot to take any pictures myself).
Opposite or Complementary?
The theme of this pairing is balance. The one on the left shows a woman and a skeletal figure back-to-back, serving as something of a memento mori (a reminder that you must die), and the one on the right shows a man and a woman back-to-back, equals in life. These pieces, I would argue, are simultaneously both opposite and complementary. Life and death are opposites, and man and women is often also seen as such, however they complement one and other as without one the other would not be defined as existing.
A stark difference here, however, is that the ideologies are contrasting. On the left, the piece of European descent, serves as a warning that beauty fades, and death is the end for us all, therefore one must live life virtuously. On the right, however, a Luba figure originating from the Congo, we are confronted with a somewhat more heartening comparison, which is that men and women are in balance and two parts of an ideal whole. This would contrast heavily with the traditional European notion of the balance between men and women, where the women are definitely seen as lesser.
There are dozens of other pairings within this museum, and therefore dozens of other ways to make some interesting and previously unknown contrasts and comparisons between some awesome African and European sculptures. Since we can’t all just hop on a plane and head over to Berlin (it’s only been a few weeks and I want to go back already!) I would definitely recommend to download the app and check see them through that – the museum has done a fab job and there’s just so much information about every piece and some insight into their meanings and implications.
That’s all for me for this one, I hope you enjoyed it!
This week Amy’s back! She and Alice sit Rosie down and tell her about their recent trip to Berlin, the art around the city and their favourite museums and galleries.