MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts
Drawing, Moving Image & Performance
What is your work about currently?
I’m currently exploring topics of femininity and sexuality, with a focus on the concept of personal “agency” [bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, 2000]. I’m interested in the concept of internalized misogyny, and the reinforcement of social stigmas, particularly in reference to body image and personal sensuality. I also work with role play, turning myself into whichever ‘woman’ (persona) I need to be at that thought process conjuncture [Judith Butler, Gender Trouble, 1990]. If ‘DRAG’ means “dressed as girl”, then I ‘DRAW: ‘dress as woman’; I draw with my pen and my body, a DRAW queen!
What does womanhood mean to you?
To quote Audre Lorde: “Women are Powerful & Dangerous”! I feel that Womanhood is a state of understanding. It is about moving beyond the dogma of vulnerability within ‘Girlhood’ (female adolescence), and into a more personally secure approach of being connected to one’s body (and accepting ‘flaws’) and trusting & owning one’s decision making. It can also be self identifying, there shouldn’t be a biological requirement I don’t think.
What are your view on Feminisms?
I feel the discussion of Feminism is at pivotal moment, because the conversation is going into much more depth in regard to specific topics such as race, class, disability, gender identification & trans persons. The analysis of privilege within the term has now become more widespread, which I think is very positive. It moves the conversation away from being solely about heteronormative affluent persons and onto why and how such a flawed social structure has been formed, and how things can change for the better.
How do your experiences as a woman influence your art?
The exchange of experiences is the basis for use of subjectivity within my practice. I know my more difficult experiences being a woman are shared by many other people, including the spectrum of physical aesthetics, the unspoken dogma of one’s body being one’s collateral & the ongoing acceptance of oneself (in mind, as well as body); these things inform my work everyday. I want to represent personas and bodies that some may brand as imperfect, but to do so in a positive light, using interpretations of stereotypes, historical figures/myths and text.
What has been your experience as a woman in university?
The discussion of Gendering of Art has never been so prevalent in my education as it is on my current course, MA Fine Art. I feel there is a state of flux happening within the Arts in terms of gender equality with women make up the majority of students within art courses, but the actual art world is still majority male (or at least the work sells for higher sums). I was speaking with students on Sotheby’s MA Curation course and they reiterated the same shift within curating: more and more women are entering the field. The binary approach labelling ‘Male Work’ and ‘Female Work’ is something that I find uncomfortable and saturated with hierarchy, and discussions of this can be fiery to say the very least.
What piece of advice would you give to women planning on entering the creative industries?
Ignore statements like “It’s a Man’s World” because the creative arts should be a meritocracy. Encouraging other practitioners, I think, is also an important element. The more each woman succeeds, the better representation there is, meaning young women will be able to see more grown women succeeding, not to the detriment of anyone else or to fill a quota, but because they are best at what they do.