Currently the OCAD student gallery is playing host to an exhibition entitled ‘Period Piece: The Gynolandscape’. The images I have seen of work from the show are startlingly beautiful, sensitive and thought provoking.
It pains/amuses me to imagine how an exhibition of this nature would be received in my home town. The name alone would raise eyebrows and cause immature sniggers. The mere mention of art that deals with menstruation, body hair and female identity would be immediately bashed as ‘gross’ by most of the males (and some females) I know.
I on the other hand am thrilled at the idea of going and looking at work that deals with issues I am directly affected by. The show is explained:
Our popular Western notion of femininity is largely determined by the male gaze. Femininity has long been equated with female attractiveness as defined by heterosexual male desire, which requires women to control many natural signs of their post-pubescent, fertile bodies including body hair, menstrual blood and weight fluctuations. This is problematic because it puts women in the subordinate position and suggests that female sexuality is something that should be managed, distrusted and feared. As a consequence of this ideology, women are often relegated to the realm of adolescence. The media celebrates the skinny female body, in part, for example, because of its likeness to an immature, unthreatening, girlish figure. This destructive culture of fear is the gynophobic landscape. This exhibit offers an alternative, the gynolandscape, which celebrates female sexuality and the power of women’s bodies. Period Piece questions the current ideology of femininity and recasts women in positive/dominant roles. The works in this show are produced by international female artists whose practices demonstrate their struggle with female identity and sexuality.
Sadly this exhibition is on in Canada so I will have to remain content with online images.
I am proud of who I am, I am not afraid of how old I am or how much I weigh but inevitably I will be judged for it. Here are some facts about me which have nothing to do with either of these…
- I make soft toys.
- I have been offered to study an MA and I don’t even have A-levels or a degree.
- I have played the guitar for 23 years, I can play both classical and dirty loud rock.
- I can play the drums.
- I can read and write music and self taught this at aged 6.
- I gave birth to disabled child aged 21 and was terrified.
- I run an art gallery and don’t pay myself a wage.
- I suffer from depression and anxiety and have had two significant breakdowns.
- I am untidy and messy.
- I get bad facial hair.
- I feel my daughter has to grow up with more pressures about her body than I did and this pisses me off.
- I draw and paint. Im no Frida Kahlo but I love what I do.
- I find it hard to say ‘No’.