Women's History Month
1 -12 March 2017
Opening Night - 2 March 6-9pm
Artists from varied creative practices, background, culture and countries coming together for this most expressive exhibition. Exploring the threads that connects us through our experiences, humanity, gender, friendship and relationship; across the division of country, culture, language, and religion. Sharing the rich tapestry woven from the myriad experiences of individual lives.
Images in random format
Beatriz Acevedo/Carmen Lamberti
Cheryl Gould M.R.B.S.
Cinthya G. Picazo
Lida Sharet Massad
Maria Hi San
Norma D. Hunter
Suly Bornstein Wolf
Film by Lucy and Layla Swinhoe
The "Madonna for our Times" is my response to the diminished status of women in traditional Christian society. My Madonna aims to redress this imbalance: Surrounded by pink/red "stained" lilies (as opposed to white lilies, symbol of the Virgin Mary), she celebrates the female body and sexuality. She is inspired by the strong, powerful, wise and sometimes fearsome goddesses in Hinduism and Greek mythology, in particular the warrior goddess Durga, whose divine shakti - positive, creative feminine energy - protects humankind from evil and misery.
‘Anolini in Brodo’ This work is based on early memories of my family and of Italian immigrants in Glasgow. The image shows serving soup in the back shop of the café where our grandparents fed the family.
I have tried to mix the imagery and the narrative with the expression in the textile. I want my work to show a feeling of movement and expression and of course a feeling of ordinary family life. My work is generally full of story and symbols and I feel textiles offer these images a linear blocked flat impact.
This painting evolved through attempts to assimilate my family’s history. Most of my family perished during The Holocaust. My late mother, Erika, survived against the odds. Deeply scarred, not only by this episode of history, but by her difficult relationship with her mother she escaped Hungary, her motherland, in 1956.
At a time when women were not generally encouraged in many aspects of life outside the home, Erika become an independent, professional dental surgeon. Erika’s life was sadly overtaken by bowel cancer in 2007. I still miss her terribly.
My work focuses on the female experience and explores social conditioning and its impact on childhood-girlhood. Girl with birdlooks at the world of imagination and our links to nature; the fragile threads that connect the natural world and the intimate emotional landscape from which we weave our daily lives. All that glitters looks at the strong expectations of society on women, the pressures around notions of (conventional) beauty and its orthodoxy.The rose on the chain can be regarded as a precious pretty accessory or a as a weighty “ball and chain”.
Beatriz Acevedo & Carmen Lamberti
"RawTag" aims at exploring the threads and stories weaved into our garments. It is a work of art (social sculpture) based on conversations about our relationship with clothes and the threads of life weaved into them: from the memories we associate to our favorite garments, to the realisation of the “true cost” of fast fashion, and the creation of alternatives and awareness.
In this painting I am proposing new form or alternative ways of seeing shape and forms in nature, other than the instantly recognisable forms which we are trained to see through societal systems. This work references thoughts and ideas of gender variance and fluidity. It offers space for consideration of difference and the possibility of the unknown or the unfamiliar becoming real. In my work I am trying to push the boundaries of what we impulsively accept as recognisable, familiar and secure. The colours and forms inscribed on my canvases and boards are lasting forms and they have become new objects in the world. The conversation around tolerating and understanding new possibilities in our world, whether in painting or in the way we are recognised as individual unique human beings, is what inspires my work .
Threads to me signifies the fragile strands that keep us together. They control our anger, happiness, disappointments, frustrations.......... well being. This work is part of a body of work exploring my relationship with my "mental" self.
Girl with Curves
My work talks about the woman outside the aesthetic standard imposed by society. The real woman, who carries her experience on her body, with the cellulites, the curves and different movements. This woman shown on my work goes this way through intuition, it's like the "Wild Woman" that the writer Clarissa Pinkola describes on her book, "Women Who Run With Wolves".
Eyes are often referred to as the gateway to the soul. My belief is that souls represent the very essence of who we really are.
Soul connection is explored in this work uniting the artist, the viewers and the women portrayed in the paintings.
The women I have selected for this work are representative of many others who have also achieved truly amazing success in their field whilst having to overcome huge obstacles, prejudices, injustices and inequality . What if each and every one of us tapped into this universal power?
How do we share emotion in a progressively digital world. This work examines the gap between communicating through screens and communication between real live humans who are physically near one another.
In "The Emoji Project,"I make realistic portraits from my life and from the lives of friends to imitate or interpret emojis available on our smart phone keyboard. This painting is from photos taken during my cesarean section. It is a literal painting of my daughter's first "happy birthday."
Cheryl Gould M.R.B.S.
“Sisters caught in the mesh of Life”
The sudden unexpected and devastating loss of a beautifully talented boy, a young man, a brother, my mother’s only son : and soon after, my father, her husband , our Patriarch …gone ..how to cope ? how to express my personal kaleidescope of feelings ? how to depict emotions of the left behind women, shedding oceans of tears ? Yet through the silence of screaming separation came the sighing and spinning of invisible threads, catching ,wrapping an encompassing mesh of support and solidarity for the Sisters, offering brave hope with comfort to still continue living…..
Cinthya G. Picazo
Some of my paintings are based on photographs by photographic artists whose visual aesthetics and ideas are identified with mine, in this case the painting of Ula Woman is based on the ethnic photography of Ula Koska photographs. Polish Artist who shared with me her photo to reproduce his work and offered me inspiration to transform to Arte Cinthya Picazo.
I like this feedback between artists, since there are ties that unite us in terms of aesthetics and ideology, also as a plastic artist I am inspired by music when I do my work, I think every branch of art is important to unite to be able to understand more things like plastic artist, poet or musician, to reproduce music to hear in the wind colors and to feel emotions occasioned by the music that are represented in images also is base of my inspiration I believe that everything is united in senses, forms and colors that way we can evolve as human beings.
I use transparent plastic bubble wrap sheets as the surface of my work while injecting with a very delicate needle diluted water based colors into each bubble as well as painting on the surface itself which already has a very specific texture and pattern to begin with. Recently, I've started adding colored plastic string to the different surfaces of my paintings. They serve as extensions of the work, as well as an extension of the gestures of the action of painting.
For me, an artwork must conduct a dialogue that echoes the constant struggle in which one’s relationships is shaped with oneself, with others and with the surrounding world. The threads that are incorporated into this work manifest a linkage and a dialogue between all these worlds.
Break of Day - Sculpture
A woman’s life, my life. has many early starts. There is a process of gathering together, tidying up, watching the light increase outside the window while I get organised to start the day.
The gleaming circle is my window on a world into which I must dare to go. The white curved strips are the state of my preparations, not yet tidy enough but they will be.
A Quipu: recording an artist led walk in Margate by Elspeth Penfold in collaboration with Walking with The Waste Land at the Turner Contemporary
This walk was designed for the delegates of the “Writing Buildings Symposium,” at The University of Kent Canterbury, School of Architecture and School of Literature in July 2016.
My family’s background as emigrees to Argentina and my own reverse emigration from South America to the UK, has had a great influence on my thinking and on my work. I have been using walking as research to create new work for over a year as a part of The Waste Land research group at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. Part of this work involves using experimental documentation in the shape of knotted ropes which are made by participants on my walks and can be displayed in the form of Quipus, a system for recording information widely used throughout the Inca Empire.
Inspired by Egyptian Tomb paintings this 'remanent' of a self portrait was created at a fragile time in my life. The materials used are natural and raw in texture with delicate muslin representing a 'skin'. The facial features are hand stitched- a cathartic technique with it's roots as a feminine process. A nod to the make do and mend, as if with every stitch the self is being repaired. With a sense of history – of a ripped away memory left behind alongside a contemporary take on a traditional technique.
I wanted to portray woman`s body in its natural form. Showing all the imperfections and changes because of childbirth and other sufferings she goes through in silence ( domestic violence, postnatal depression, sexual abuse...).
Media has created an unrealistic perfect image of today`s woman.
I wanted to picture a realistic image of her after this journey and to show her sadness and pain.
In Bruegel’s painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, the barely visible figure of Icarus drowns while standers-by remain oblivious, preoccupied with their own tasks.
Women’s History Month reminds us about the cost of indifference. It reminds us about women who took action, women who got involved by rattling the cage of accepted social norms.
The Icarus Shock is a phrase borrowed from the essay ‘Still life and Feminine Space’ (Bryson, 1990). The flotsam and jetsam of collage, like my rural isolation, rarely offers a coherent narrative. This work cuts and pastes my often ambivalent relationship with home.
A hymn to tolerance in times of fear. IsayWe are better together, should agree to disagree, and love our differences as they are an essential source of evolution. IsayWe are all the same in the end, are all part of Nature and should respect it all - earth to air, what lives beneath, between and beyond.
As a woman, IsayWe all have the same rights, and none to judge anyone based on their sex, race, religion, sexuality, aspect and/or ideas: more than most, we should remember that, if we did, we would be no better than those men we still have to fight to prove we are not their pets, but their equal. It seems impossible, but to this day there is an outrageous number of women who are still battling for this basic, essential freedom. This piece is for you, Sisters. May justice prevail!!!
Energy is the primary fascination in my practice. I believe that women have a beautiful energy that exists on a multifaceted platform and emits power beyond recognition. My canvases depict flows of energy that are sourced from deep within my emotional core. The energy is unhindered and uninhibited. This piece is heavily textured, many layers of acrylic paint create luscious crevices that invite you to follow the flow. The colours are constantly changing with the light, as are the images with each rotation. All my works can be viewed in four orientations, each turn offering a new flow and array of textures and colours to explore.
My work explores how we navigate the city through drawing on location, collaging and cutting, pasting and stitching images together. I feel that our senses are bombarded with sensations and imagery in the city. This embroidery maps the personal journey that I went on around the St James Park area in April 2014 when I was dealing with several strong emotions in my head at the time of drawing. The act of drawing and sewing seemed to provided me with some relief and meditation and led me to create this series of embroideries.
My piece Luna is made of clay and raffia and is part of my work exploring maternal lineage. It has an ancient and a modern historical context bringing together traditional ideas of fertility figurines, matriarchy and contemporary knowledge of the maternal inheritance of our mitochondrial DNA. The piece loosely references a Sumatran magic wand, but rather than a sequence of male ancestral figures bringing power to the magic, my piece celebrates female bodies and forms a reproductive continuum. The whole is moon shaped and aligned with female physiology.
Embroidery is a slow, contemplative activity, traditionally associated with women in domestic environments creating decorative adornments for clothing, furniture and wall hangings.
My embroideries use words and images to explore the relationship between public and private domains - the spaces between the external world of instructions and signs and the interior world of individual experience.
Taking a traditional embroidery format, 'Silence' subverts the way in which words and images have expressed sentiments of affection, belonging and safety."
"Constant change' mixes weave and paint to represent women's experience throughout their lives, in relation to their bodies, families and work and the creative transformations with these spheres.The 'threads' in the painting are diverging and adapting in response to some the myriad of changes in everyday life.
The piece is an image of a woman as she ages. The work has been printed and hand painted onto Lycra ( a flexible and strong fabric). I use make up, hair dye and paint to create the image then stretch it across a wooden body or frame work. The work cracks, flakes and disintegrates as it stretches - like a human body as it ages, ephemeral yet beautiful.
'A Room of One's Own'
In searching for connections with other artists I revisited Virginia Woolf's text ‘A Room of One’s Own’. Whilst she explores the experience of female authors almost one hundred years ago, her thoughts are, perhaps unfortunately, still relevant to woman today practicing in any art form. Her discussion of the need to carve a space to create, separate from the domestic sphere, and the freedom of thought that money can buy, both resonate with my own contemporary concerns as I negotiate life as an artist, mother and educator.
In this piece I appropriate an abbreviated excerpt from Woolf’s text, “I must ask you to imagine a room, with a window…and on the table inside the room, a blank sheet of paper.” These words speak of the moment of calm, the beginning of the process of creating, and the space to do so. The piece itself is a stitched panel of white thread, recalling both a domestic, lace-like curtain and a page from a book.
As a painter, photographer and a mixed media artist she often creates textures, incorporating materials that relate to her own experiences. She often works with the human body and old family photographs which reflect her concerns with her own existence and her relation with the universe.
In her current work she uses photographs of five generation to explore the female collective pain accumulated over hundreds of years and their dormant condition that transcended for generations influenced by religious beliefs and social dogmas. This constant struggle has the power to transform the human conscience to bring us into an awakening and awareness of our true nature as women, our power and our own divinity.
In the portrait of Madam Cama, I have depicted her as a symbol of hope and inspiration for the freedom lovers adding the elements of peace in the form of doves. The distant dark horizon is a reality of her exiled life. In 1907, Cama attended the International Socialist Conference in Stuttgart, Germany, where she unfurled what she called the "Flag of Indian Independence”. The tricolor with the crescent and the sun represented all major denominations of India and the eight lotuses- the eight provinces of British India. The words in Devanagri script read- "[We] Bow to thee Mother [India]".
In that Time
This picture was made following my mother’s death, when I was left a pile of her recent finished and unfinished canvasses, and boxes of black and white photos of family and friends going back over more than a hundred years.
In an effort to reflect honestly on our past relationship, I wanted to convert the strong and complicated feelings I had about her into a series of images that would draw the past into the present, and make something new out of the integration of memories and current reflections.
‘In That Time’ evolved first by partial obliteration. By scumbling off-white paint over one of my mother’s unfinished paintings, bits of the original imagery bled through or remained exposed, and acted as a framework for an image of myself as a youngster on holiday on the sand dunes in the Channel Islands in earlier bittersweet times.
Throughout the history of the human race and still today, only the female is able to gestate the baby and give birth. The pain the mother endures in childbirth has no comparison as it is supposed to be the most painful thing in the world. Yet is taken for granted and never quite acknowledged, even to the point that in many cultures the mother is denied basic treatment. Women are neglected, alienated and abandon to their plight when things go wrong and they become injured and disabled in the process of giving birth.
Maternity itself is a very delicate process which revolutionises not only the hormones in the body but also many many different feelings, fears, unaccessible memories that can cause anxiety. At this point is when support without patronising is most welcome, allowing the mother to undergo the bonding with her baby in an uninterrupted Reverie!
For ages, and in many civilizations, women have been fighting oppression, inequality and discrimination. Especially towards men.
Very sensitive to the continuous fight of Tibet against oppression, I represented this feeling with a "double dip" message: impersonification of oppression and discrimination through the eyes of a beautiful Tibetan woman - isolated, rejected, despised, abandoned to her loneliness by men turning their back at her. Enhancement of the differences and the discrimination through the contrasting colours used in the painting. A 'silent scream' of a woman to remind us of the many women unlucky enough to live freely today - International Women's Day, March 8th.
Lida Sharet Massad
I work with rust, gravel, iron and metal wire – materials which are associated with construction sites. I use traditionally female crafts to join together materials that have traditionally been thought of as male.
At the studio I began tying, knitting and embroidering, using all types of threads and techniques. The metal wires simulate the minimalism of pencil lines, creating lines in space which run from the wall and become an object.
Tubers celebrates the potential in London’s diverse population. Our underground commute. Eyes down, focus--get from point A to point B. No matter the gender, culture, religion, age, nor language. We share armrests, space, and this purpose of moving to our next destination. If only we could share more than the armrest and the space. If only we shared our stories, our dreams, our humanity…We share so little and miss so much.
My work relates to Women's History month concerning the bad dream I had...The broken pieces refer to the fragmented achievements of women artists that have crashed through the History of Art...Female artists who were not to be ignored. The work of Sofonisba Anguissola 1532-1625,
Artemisia Gentileschi 1593-1656, Vigee Le Brun 1755- 1842, Vanessa Bell1879-1961, Frida Khalo 1907-1954. I rejoice in their work and am in awe of their existence...yet none of them are considered a place next to the old masters, ( highly skilled, trained artists)... This is where my dream becomes a nightmare...but it's only a dream.
Lucy & Layla Swinhoe
‘Now, you must remember the enemy has only images and illusions behind which he hides his true motives. Destroy the image, and you will break the enemy.’ Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon).
Art is about images, objects and words, but we’re highlighting how culture uses this trinity to propagate and perpetuate power. We’re also revealing the symbolism of a ‘degree’, and how this ties in with the ritualistic nature of hierarchical society. The film also projects the theories of art into the wider context of life.
Back to Front
The threads that have bought me to this stage of my life have pulled me back to my first love, drawing. Drawing is at the heart of my practice. Drawing as a visual language, as a mode of enquiry and as a way of knowing and my work focuses on the human form, its strengths and weaknesses, and the linear beauty of the body.
Back to Front is a Collograph using thread as a mark maker, printed with found ink, onto a prepared screen-printed background.
Maria Hi San
In my projects, start from a social and particular pain for transformation through the artistic creation, generating others possibilities to dialogue.
Especially about female energy.
The washing up bowl; a changing kitchen sea, connecting days together, the circular repetition of everyday tasks. The thought of a grandmother, looking at her hands, dried and wrinkled, doing the washing up. The grandmother who sighed and said ‘One time, you will also look like this’. All the passing years, marked in her hands. Where she saw coming death, decay, I saw hidden stories.
I tell stories through painted narratives from everyday life with its emotions and behaviour, as they unfold in response to society, morals and social interactions. Stories which go beneath the surface, revealing personal perspectives.
“TRAPPED” represents the entrapment, isolation and immobility that various situations, and our life experiences leave with us.
Norma D. Hunter
We look at a picture of a tabby cat feeding her kittens and think ‘how sweet’ or even of a sow feeding her piglets. Yet the human female breast has become so sexualised that breastfeeding in public has almost become a criminal act. Resulting in our vulnerable babies being fed, at times, in the most unsanitary conditions, risking infection and illness. This is a damaged thread we need to repair.
‘Coeur’ is the base of the word ‘courage’, and I love that significance. Reminding me of our vulnerability in strength, our hearts at the core, and keeping them safe. Delicate and fragile layers, like memories and emotions, needing to be handled with care.
Stitching is a fine line, the thread sometimes breaking - trying to connect - running through it all. Just as we nourish our hearts, and the woven threads in our lives, this common fragile bond holds us together and connects us all.
This project is an investigation of friendship.
According to Dunbar, one can hold 150 personal relationships. There is an inner core of five intimates and then successive layers at 15, 50 and 150 (with each layer the emotional intimacy decreases). Or to simplify it, the Portugese say: “You have five friends, the rest is landscape.”
To personalise and identify my five closest friends, in a world where we currently use a lot of text/mail/whatsapp..., I asked my five closest friends: "What is your type(face)?" I printed the words: 'tight-knit circle' in their preferred typefaces over and over again. Cut the paper into thin stripes, attached piece by piece and then knitted a circle.
Through history, women only intermittently found the language to voice their desired autonomy, until the 20thC.
To demonstrate this history, I took inspiration from Gaudier Breska's "The Dancer" (1906).
I tripled his Dancer, harking back to Canova/Botticelli's mythical daughters of Zeus, The Three Graces.
These references narrate the transformation from a past, passive classical Sisterhood to the initiation of a feminist/modernist Sisterhood where, as shown, women are individual, unashamed of their bodies, stepping out in different directions, whilst remaining deeply connected by Form.
Some years ago, through a train window, I saw a great slabby, monolithic, block of flats. The image of the many blank windows staring out stayed with me. I work with LEAH (Learn English At Home) whose aim is to help immigrant woman unable to get out, for what ever reason, to learn English, so they can integrate, and enjoy their adopted country. Those rows of blind, anonymous and empty windows seem like an architectural metaphor for the isolation of many women
Towards A New Life was completed in springtime. I was consciously exploring dying and becoming as necessary steps in painting. The piece consists of a web of frayed and scraped back surfaces of blue-green, washed out green-golds and lemons which are energised by crimson and red violet structures, themselves supported by blue and transparent violet peripheral forms. The gentle peach brings inner radiance, preventing the collapse of these cool lifeless structures.
My work is arrived at through the layering of opaque and transparent colours, the repeated application and removal of material, creating richly complex passages in paint. I create paintings with presence.
'Torn but not Broken'
The history of women in my life, both past and present manifest great strength to rise above experiences that can easily tear the body, mind and spirit apart. Through times in life when it seems to fall apart, hanging on a string, the determination and spark of the human spirit continue to keep us from brokenness.
A painter and printmaker, Sally’s practice involves distorting or deconstructing images to explore the bounds between abstraction and representation, often using photography or drawing as a starting point. For Threads, she has been looking at elements and the tools of traditional women’s crafts.
Sil’ver-Tongued’ - adj. persuasive, eloquent.
My silver tongue was a response to the sort of charm that is summed up by the term ‘silver-tongued’. I wondered if it might make the silver-tongued less persuasive if the silvering on their tongue took the form of a furry coating - with accompanying halitosis, and I wondered if I could convey this in stitch.
Grace explores natural architectural motifs while demonstrating a movement: of nature, of growth, of decomposition, of natural processes. The piece explores themes relating to my cultural heritage as a British, Indian, Muslim female. Through a highly personal sculptural language the work attempts to visually translate my own experiences: from architecture, landscape and nature to the communal engagements at meal times, prayer and the ritual of everyday life.
Penelope, aka Casey J
When I heard a news story about Casey Jenkins’s performance piece ‘Casting Off My Womb’ it struck me as an interesting take on cyclic aspects of time from a female point of view. It made me think of Penelope weaving then unweaving her work as she waited for Ulysses to return.
Because I wanted to work with my take on the idea, I avoided looking at images of Casey. Surprisingly, the finished portrait resembles Casey and (in her words) captures ‘the essence and attitude of my performance more accurately than any of the documenting photos taken during the piece’.
Suly B. Wolf
My creative work is marked and affected by my being an immigrant who has been uprooted from one country (Brazil) to another (Israel).
About the Knots Series
I am exploring diverse subjects such as maternal and umbilical relationship, friendship and mutual support
The work from the series 'Knots' that will shown in this exhibition is made from white plastic hairdresser used aprons (Ready Made), that i collects once they were used and before they are thrown to the trash. Then I create from it knots that little by little are being accumulated into long strings. From it I create objects that resemble flowers, hair, balls etc. Some of them are independent objects in space, others are hanged on the wall as relief.
Threads of Life (2014)
An unknown and inscrutable life force –the faceless female spirit of the collective unconscious symbolized as an endless ocean- organises our threads of life and threads of thoughts, which surround us and shape our future just like framework of society does.
The fish symbolize human beings who strive towards light, seek enlightenment, struggle up the social ladder or just crave for a better life. Crossing each other’s path they move up towards the unknown, looking for paths through the labyrinth of threads and trying not to become prey.
Is there hope? Is there something worth fighting for? Does the path lead somewhere at all?
In the national economic history, female workers are frequently subjected to either heroism as being supportive or victimisation as being put forward in the frontline of labour movements. Within this instrumentalisation of female workers’ positions, their individual life experiences often become a missing thread. ‘Take-Off’ is a homage to young female seamstresses who used to be glorified as foot-soldiers of the national economic success in 1970s, Seoul Korea under the militant government. Subverting the meaning of camouflage by revealing its elements highly visible, it questions upon the lost balance between the system and individuality within continuously patriarchal economic history.
This series is based on my mother’s diaries from the II World War. The writing in these pieces is an exact copy of her original handwritten pages in Polish.
Only two small exercise books remain from 1944, written when she was sent to a work camp in Ebenfurt, Austria.
In the page of her diary that’s shown in ‘Glass Memories’ and ‘Bittersweet Memories’ she writes about the very difficult conditions in the camp, how it’s been raining for weeks, making the fields full of mud and how the sugar beets that she had to harvest were rotting, whilst the bombs of the allies keep falling onto the town nearby. In the diaries she wonders if my father is still alive and learns about the death of her father.
‘Butterflies in my Stomach’
This work translates the weight of the emotional and psychological baggage we hold on to when we move from a country to another. Facing a new culture makes you question your own. It tackles the identity issue and all the conflicts we are facing when we are rewriting our own story and narrative from scratch. But how do you decide on which cords to break and which to keep?