Who are Nasty Women? Feminist artists with a strong political statement --but there's more! Nasty Women is a global art movement, founded by two kick-ass female ninja's, Roxanne Jackson and Jessamyn Fiore. Their ethos stands to demonstrate solidarity amongst artists. By doing so... they've connected a solid team of talent and they are making a strong social stand against recent political polices concerning women.
To Jackson, a nasty woman:
“does not shrink in silence to threats and bullying, especially from bigoted, sexist men; instead, she faces them head on. She fights for what she believes in – the rights of women and the rights of humans. And she will not stop.” (https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jan/13/nasty-women-knockdown-center-queens-art-show)
The Nasty Women movement started with a simple Facebook post by Roxanne Jackson:
"Hello female artists/curators! Lets organise a NASTY WOMEN group show!!! Who’s interested??? We need a venue!!!!!"
Fed up with the backward polices affecting her body, health and quality of life, Jessamyn Fiore saw the Facebook post and instantly signed up. It didn't take long for the post to go viral. The first Nasty Women installation was staged as a visual protest over Trumps degrading slur to Clinton in the third presidential debate. They chose to use this slur as a way to promote solidarity amongst women, they took back the degrading value of his words and flipped it. The event was a success with over 700 female artists contributing towards the show. That was back in January of this year, now fast forward 8 months...
Thursday 21st September 2017 is an important day for all artists, both male and female, it was the day Nasty Women and Creative Debuts held their first feminist themed art exhibition in London! What brought the dynamic duo together from across the pond..? Human Rights! Sadly we have seen many devastating political shifts occurring in Britain, the biggest would be Brexit. As we are left to increasingly feel that our political leaders are not standing up for us or our rights we ask them to show that one thing is non-negotiable – the human values of equality, fairness and compassion that define British society.
I unexpectedly received a media pass to this amazing event. Like a kid the week before Xmas, I ecstatically counted down the days. When the day finally arrived I rounded up the MAD team and we were on our way. As we made our way down the wet cobbled streets of London, I couldn't stop shaking with excitement! When we arrived we all let out a large gasp! The line outside the event was colossal to say the least. That alone was an indication for what was in store. What seemed like an inconvenience at first only added to our buzz. First 2 thoughts instantly came to mind: Thank God we have press tickets AND this is going to be an event we will never forget.
Once inside we were welcomed by "Our Teresa"; a sculpture crafted by Ellie Pennick. It was the best way to let those entering the building know what was in-store for them! She single-handedly set the tone for the evening, this was not going to be your average art show! She let everyone know that Nasty Women were here, the new emerging feminist artists had arrived and they had no plans to be silenced.
The event was a clear demonstration of artists standing in alliance, but it didn't only attract artists; people from all different walks of life were present and totally intrigued I had conversations with many in attendance and the one thing they all had in common: they have been waiting for an event like this for ages! An event that encouraged women to not only come as they are, but one that allowed us to stand together, celebrate one another, and discuss all things sex and womanly. THIS was our time to be Nasty!
Harley Kilburn's Mirror series --which was located in the room adjacent to the garden-- is a great example of how the art on display was a celebration of us women, it paved the way for open conversations regarding our body, sexual relationships, family and much more.
Harley's work is jaw dropping, she made me question my idea of beauty by presenting a subject, her mother, whose erotic potential in society is usually excluded, hidden, or considered taboo. I found myself speaking to a lot people in this room, all who were standing in-front of her work, taking in the female body with appreciation and excitement, I overheard a group of women say: "God, I hope I look this good when I get old!" Another chimed: "I want her confidence!" But the best comment I heard was from two friends:
"I genuinely wish my relationship with my daughter will be this comfortable, at-least to the level where she can ask me to pose naked for her and I wont think she is weird!"
The feeling I took from Harley's work was empowerment! She made me look at myself with a fresh set of eyes, not like my usual Instagram post where I'm lined with filters and shooting from trendy angles. This was not an art show being led by shy women. This show was brave, courageous, and outlandish.
I departed from the event feeling hopeful --not just for my future-- but the future of the younger generations of women! Maybe I've know this all a long, but Nasty Women made me realize how strong we are! Invoking change in our world may start with whisper and end in a shout, but where words fail, art speaks, and creativity becomes the catalyst for a revolution!
The money raised from the event is donated in support of Rape Crisis England and Wales and Women for Women International project.
Thank you Creative Debuts for inviting us!