I recently did a talk for Durham University’s Summer in the City Festival Art Prize Art School event talking about the minority suffragettes in British History who helped pave the way to women being able to vote. It was a great few weeks seeing all the different talks and discussing what heroism means to so many people. Super excited about being a judge for the Durham University’s Art School Prize for 2020/2021 too!
I had the pleasure of being part of Nasty Women’s North East Residency with Lady Kitt at the start of September and it was such a great experience that will remain with me for a long time.
Not only did I meet likeminded creative people but was met with a collective experience with the common goals of feminism in the modern day world.
In London, for example, 78 per cent of the galleries represent more men than women, while only 5 per cent represent an equal number of male and female artists.
And beyond the statistics, women artists and curators face unique challenges, from the subjects they bring to light to the work they choose to present. As Tate Modern director Frances Morris has said, women have been discriminated against for centuries, and major institutions have typically failed to support the careers of women artists working on the margins.
You can imagine then, the small percentage of ethnic minority women who get representation. In BBC 4’s ‘Whoever heard of a Black Artist’ these points are highlighted about Britain’s hidden Art History. [https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bcy4kd]
The residency itself consisted of support from Lady Kitt and Michaela who curated the experience at Praxis Gallery in Commercial Union House. The main objective was developing our original ideas for the submission of the Nasty Women Art Prize however the days were split with talks and one to one supportive sessions.
As part of this we listened to a talk with the directors of Vane Gallery in Newcastle, Paul Stone and Christopher Yeats. Who both provided some much needed insight on exhibiting in a globally connected gallery. Vane represents a group of critically engaged artists from the North East of England, across the UK, Europe and the USA through projects at the gallery and elsewhere. The gallery itself has a variety of workshops, events and performances on throughout the year.
Leanne Pearce also came in to talk about her breastfeeding paintings highlighting how mothers are sometimes unable to feed their babies and the bonding experience of parent and child. She also mentioned the origins of The Thought Gallery in Birtley and by the inevitable hard work involved to create such a place.
The residency itself inspired me to paint more fine art and delve further into the world of lost culture, history and potential of female artists.