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.
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.
Quiet Rebellions: Hidden Transcripts
People can find themselves in situations where they are at the mercy of those in power. These situations have a public transcript or an accepted front to the situation that everyone has to be seen to agree with. Open criticism of the public transcript may put a person at risk of emotional, physical or economic retribution from those in power. In this exhibition I try to make public the transcripts that normally remain hidden.
Quiet Rebellions: Hidden Transcripts explores how people can find themselves in situations where they are at the mercy of those in power. These situations have a public transcript or an accepted front to the situation that everyone has to be seen to agree with. Open criticism of the public transcript may put a person at risk of emotional, physical or economic retribution from those in power. In this exhibition, Ruth tries to make public the transcripts that normally remain hidden.
Ruth uses muted colours to create ephemeral, translucent barriers over portraits of transcript givers, making them difficult to distinguish – in part to maintain the anonymity of the subjects but also to reflect the hidden quality of the transcripts.
Alongside these works, visitors are invited to contribute to the project, providing their own anonymous transcripts that will be added to the work as the exhibition continues.
The exhibition runs from 29 March – 19 April 2015. A Private View will be held on Saturday 28 March at Rayleigh WIndmill, Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 7ED.
Tiny Acts of Care
I took care when I drew this. It is small but carefully drawn. I thought of you while I drew it. I thought that you deserved one small act of care from a stranger, to let you know that you matter. I want you to have it. I want you to take this tiny act of care, to help you take care of yourself.
Tiny Acts of Care is an ongoing project. I leave small hand drawn pictures in public places for people to take. I want to offer people a thoughtful moment. To know that they are important, regardless of whom they are. Every person is equally important. Whoever finds a tiny act of care is welcome to it, to reconsider their worth, their luck, and their place in society.
If you are the recipient of a tiny act of care, you can record it with the #tinyactsofcare or #taoc on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or other social media.
|“You are not ashamed to care for the acquisition of wealth and for reputation and honour, but you do not concern yourselves with yourselves, that is, with wisdom, truth and perfection of the soul.”
Is there a theoretical link between ‘care’ for the self with the notion of ‘free play’. Can art be seen as a method of allowing an audience to ‘care’ for their ‘self’ through ‘free play’.
My previous works have looked at ways of engaging an audience more fully – to create a dialogue with the audience. In particular I aimed to create works that allowed the audience a quiet space for reflection; works that encouraged a state of free play either by physically consuming them or by being so ephemeral you were unsure they were there.
I was interested in the democracy I believe is offered by art – that all who submit themselves to a lack of knowledge when viewing a new art work, become equal. This notion is rooted in my research of Jacques Ranciere’s “The Emancipated Spectator”. It is this understanding of art and its ability to ‘equalise’ people of different classes, genders, ages, races etc. that has lead me to consider how politics in art does not necessarily have to be as obvious as Ranciere suggests it should be. I believe it is possible to construct an argument that uses free play and ‘self care’ to prove that the political power of art does not require political subject matter.
I consider an artwork to be separate and complete in its alterity; indifferent to the view it is subjected to. The indifferency of the art object allows the viewer to play freely with its appearance – it promotes an attitude in the viewer that allows them to take part in an activity of ‘self care’: to discover and consider one’s beliefs and how they align with the art object and what that art object purports. Its indifferency allows the viewer a full, thorough, and most importantly, “objective” focal point to test their internal truths against. It encourages the viewer to turn their “aletheia” into “ethos”.
I believe that art is uniquely placed to provide people with the opportunity to care for their “self” through ‘free play’.
 Plato’s Apology, Page 20, lines14, Michel Foucault in Technologies of the Self, The University of Massachusetts Press, 1988.
 “Schillers Juno Ludovisi…does nothing, wants nothing and offers no model for imitation…”Page 69, line 4, Jacques Ranciere, The emancipated Spectator, Verso, 2009,
 “…a set of practices by which one can acquire, assimilate, and transform truth into a permanent principle of action. Aletheia becomes ethos…” Page 35, line 28, Michel Foucault in Technologies of the Self, The University of Massachusetts Press, 1988.