Women’s Work

In collaboration with the Essex Feminist Collective and to raise awareness and funds for two Southend women’s charities, this all female exhibition explores the ever contentious subject of Women’s Work.

From arguments about equal pay to unpaid emotional labour and cuts to women’s services to the continued undervaluing of traditional female roles, these artists consider what it is to work as a woman, particularly in the male dominated art world where the legitimacy of their work is often contested as an art form.

Curated by Southend artist Ruth Jones and featuring a group of 9 local and international female artists, the exhibition Women’s Work opens at The Beecroft Gallery on Saturday 6 February and finishes on International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8 March 2016. A private viewing of the exhibition will be held on Wednesday 10 February from 18.30 – 20.30. Entry is by donation (suggested donation of £3 or pay what you can) with proceeds going to SOS Rape Crisis and SOS Domestic Abuse Projects (Dove). Performative acts of care by artist Ruth Jones will take place on 6, 13, 27 of February and 8 March 2016. Details below.

Cinzia Cremona’s work Undercurrent provokes questions about normativity and intimacy. Social conventions dictate what is acceptable and individuals are trapped by these expectations. Gender, skin colour, age and class restrict the gamut of behaviours and desires each of us can embody, but which emerge within us nevertheless. This work wants to contribute in a small way to a growing awareness of these mechanisms and to the legitimacy of any desire.

As an artist, art teacher, researcher and also a mother of a young man to be, Katia Salvany realised that her role as a woman could and can make a difference, specially for the ones around her. She has attempted to bring into play the inner ambiguity, uncertainty and wonder posited in trying to understand and balance urgent myriad possibilities that comes along with motherhood, creative artistic processes and everyday domestic routine.

In her investigative, ongoing series “Care Work”, Ruth Jones explores people’s notions of care: what it is, what it does for people and the perceived social responsibilities to perform it. The work is presented in an unfinished state as she performs her own acts of artistic care throughout the exhibition, alongside documentary evidence of the care she has taken over the people she has worked with.

Amira Behbehani is a Kuwaiti self taught artist who is involved in an international peace organisation called PEACE ONE DAY. Behbehani moved on to become a member of Abolish 153 against women’s honour killing in 2015. In her “XOX Series”, she considers the dualities we all battle with, irrespective of culture, the different roles we choose to take on, the words we borrow, the ideas we champion, that simultaneously shroud and strip us. The game of tic-tac-toe highlights how daily, we inhabit so many worlds, real or created, tangible or intangible – part of all but so often committed to none. Here, there is no prevarication, no obfuscation. We lose or we win – there is no other way.

Serap Isik approaches painting without plan or objective. The lines and shapes of the brushstrokes forming the narrative of the painting unveil how instinct can create the painting alone, to unveil the unknown vision within.

Kim Ralston is an Essex based artist educator who works with mixed media. She uses stereotypically female craft skills to create multi-layered, textured installations that examine the role of motherhood and loss of identity within that role.

Performance artist Eliza Soroga is from Athens, Greece. She holds an MA in Performance Making (Goldsmiths University of London) and in Cultural Theory (National University of Athens). Her performance piece “Women in Agony” aims to create a strong visual imagery of an anonymous female crowd on a busy Saturday afternoon in Oxford circus to comment on how fashion industries make women feel the need to be unique and special but they end up looking exactly the same. But it is also about screaming out the anger that evolves out of the hectic rhythms of living in central London.

Amani Al Thuwaini is interested in topics related to women’s rights, oppression issues, male domination and traditional confinement in Kuwait society. Doing fieldwork and interviewing married women in her culture have lead her to the realisation that even though a lot of traditions remain from the past, they do not stop ‘most’ women from having the agency for change. Instead she has found that most women refuse to see the truth in things, they choose to be content with what they have because they’re afraid of change. Al Thuwaini’s work, Volition, represents women who live their own fantasy and choose not to change things even when they can.

Stefania Woznarowycz is a creative technologist , graphic designer and artist originally from São Paulo, Brazil with a degree in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins.

As a designer living in a world increasingly obsessed with perfection and constantly trying to sell us a fantasy of seamlessness and slickness, Woznarowycz investigates friction, imperfection and tension. She believes these elements can be powerful in revealing creative principles. This is not to say that design must be impractical, far from it, design must be honest, it must question realities instead of relying on paternalistic solutions. To design by friction is to be observant and to allow space for complexities. Untitled (2016) was created as a response to her experiences as a female creative working in the tech industry, her aim is to explore the intricacies of female representation, emotional labour and self image on digital platforms and social media.

Women’s Work

An exhibition held at The Beecroft Gallery, Victoria Avenue, Southend on Sea, Essex, SS2 6EX, open Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm. Free Entry. Website: http://www.southendmuseums.co.uk

Participating artists: Amira Ali Behbehani, Cinzia Cremona, Serap Isik, Ruth Jones, Kim Ralston, Katia Salvany, Eliza Soroga, Amani Al Thuwaini, Stefania Woznarowycz

Open from 6 February – 8 March 2016, Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm. Private View on Wednesday 10 February from 18.30 – 20.30pm suggested donation of £3 or pay what you can. Performative acts of care by artist Ruth Jones on Saturday 6 February from 1pm – 5pm, Saturday 13 February from 11am-1pm, Saturday 27 February from 11am – 1pm and Tuesday 8 March from 11am – 1pm.

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