September saw a flurry of activity for the project, but this time with regard to my own artistic responses to the past nine months.
It began however with a wonderful invite to the New Beginnings exhibition at The Lightbox Gallery in Woking. This exhibition is an annual competition set up by Women In Prison and Lightbox for women in prisons all across Surrey. Some of the work that was made or initiated during the statements in semaphore workshops was entered into the exhibition and shown at the gallery.
Some of the work exhibited was written poetry, again some of which was created during our workshops. One poem inspired by Leah’s creative idea of using an ‘age’ as a starting point was that of a woman called Charlotte. Her poem titled 27 was incredibly powerful. During the workshops we discussed different ways of showing poetry, through spoken word, or perhaps (due to limitations when in prison) through embroidery on clothing. After this discussion I found a dress that I thought would work really well with this particular poem. Throughout the sessions the symbol of the butterfly had come up again and again and this dress was covered in them!
For the New beginnings exhibition I asked the wonderful Cate Field if she would embroider some of Charlotte’s poem onto the dress. Unfortunately the gallery were unable to show the dress, so instead I wore it to the Private View and gave the poem it’s debut for Charlotte.
There is something strange about having work on display when you know that there are many of the artists themselves unable to be there. I think there is always the risk of it feeling like the work has been ‘taken’ away. At the New Beginnings exhibition many of the artists were present and available to collect prizes, and there was also a fantastic monologue written by Nina Lemon and performed by Sophie Maher during the evening. Soooooo much creativity!
The idea of work being ‘taken’ from people is something that has pulled at me before and during this project and one that I will consider in the next post……