Bold for Change
International Women’s Day 2017 takes up the rallying cry of ‘be bold for change’ and the events across UAL this Women’s History Month reflect that with passion. Here are some of the key moments from this month’s calendar:
In January 2017, over 40 fundraising exhibitions took place around the United States and beyond under the banner Nasty Women, raising a total of $42,000 for Planned Parenthood and providing “a platform for organisation and resistance”. This March, Chelsea College of Arts MA Fine Art students will mount the very first UK Nasty Women event, which will take place at the college on 16 March. This one-night selling exhibition will donate 100% of its proceeds to Women’s Aid, with work by artists including Kate Lowe, whose ‘Nasty Baby, Nasty Girl’ is seen above.
Nasty Women defines itself as “a global art movement that serves to demonstrate solidarity among artists who identify with being a Nasty Woman in the face of threats to roll back women’s rights, individual rights, and abortion rights.” Chelsea Blog spoke to organiser and exhibiting artist Amy Robson about her inspiration.
London College of Communication’s Beyond Borders exhibition presents a collection of work that explores the impact on the lives of those who have been inexorably caught up in the battle for the control of borders and people. Some of the work captures the lowest points of loss and despair. There are also the uplifting stories of how both the fluidity and resilience of their identity enables some to rebuild their lives.
The collection includes contributions from those involved in the Refugee Journalism Project – an initiative that aims to help exiled and displaced journalists reestablish their careers in the UK.
Exhibiting artists include: Sara Furlanetto, a BA (Hons) Photojournalism and Documentary Photography graduate, who took portraits of some of the participants including Shahd Abusalama, seen above; Etienne Bruce, who graduated with a MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from LCC – during her studies, she made work in Calais that combines image and text to create a counter-discourse to mainstream media representations of the camp. Building on this, Etienne went to Greece in summer 2016 where she made Xenitia, focusing on displacement within the Greek context, interweaving narratives of arrivals and departures across time, with textual contributions from refugees in Greece today. This work was featured by the BBC, Something Curated and Feature Shoot; and documentary photographers Elena Kollatou and LCC MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography graduate Leonidas Toumpanos, who work collaboratively on long-term environmental and social projects, participating in exhibitions and publishing their work across international magazines and websites.
Six Branch is a collaboration between BA Textile Design students from Central Saint Martins and the Women in Hebron embroidery cooperative in Palestine that combines contemporary design and traditional skills to cross borders with stitches. The resulting exhibition is on show in the Windows Gallery until 16 March.
Women In Hebron is a collective of 120 embroiderers based in the Hebron area of Palestine. As well as teaching, they produce textiles drawing inspiration from patterns passed down from generation to generation.
Nawal Slemiah, the founding director of the collective, met Linda Florence, Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins in 2015. Slemiah was eager for the collective to find new challenges for making and new avenues for selling, while Florence wanted to open the students’ practice to new ways of working, and the collaborative project was born. Since then, the two groups have been working together as a borderless design society.
LCF Head of College Frances Corner has written exclusively for It’s Nice That for International Women’s Day on why fashion can be political. Frances comments “Although clothes, their adornment and presentation, are a powerful mechanism for expressing our female voice, it is not just about the wearing of clothes. What we recognise at London College of Fashion is that it’s not just about fashion as seen on the catwalk – however exciting and inspiring that might be.
We all wear clothes, they fulfil some of our most basic physiological needs, but they also go beyond that, in that they help form our identity, express ourselves as individuals and give employment to millions of workers. They are fundamental to who we are and because of this, clothes have great potential to change lives.”