The main objective of BHM was to celebrate the contributions of black people in Great Britain, to form a positive image of black citizens in order to fight back negative stereotypes and racism. However, it unfortunately quickly developed into a mere celebration of African and Caribbean cultural facts.
We have been celebrating Black Herstory Month since 2014. This year, we will use the Sheroes narrative to expand the project, now with a sole focus on the black community. During Black Sheroes Month (BSM) the public and artists will bring forward powerful black women and share hidden herstories through visual art.
BSM will start with an exhibition on 5 – 7 October 2018, art workshops and different events will follow to ensure ongoing and wider impact until the end of October. Find out more about our programme and tickets here!
Statistics demonstrate the rarity of the opportunity to see art made by women and positive representations of women (see East London Fawcett Group Art Audit 2013 & Guardian expose 6 Feb 2017). While the situation for women in the art world is gaining visibility, especially in light of #MeToo, women from ethnic minorities often are left out still. We will so reflect on the lack of black women referents in society with artists, partners and participants. 15 artists will exhibit.
For Sheroes to be as inclusive as possible, we are partnering with different community leaders: The Colour of Madness, Black Blossoms, Forward, the IARS International Institute, Rich Mix, Ugly Duck, Housmans Books, Studio 73.
Sheroes has already proved its potential to build strong relationships across communities. BSM is a unique opportunity to continue working with artists and gender now focusing on the black community. More importantly we are partnering with schools, which is crucial for our mission since, as research shows indicates, schools that establish high expectations for all youth – and give them the support necessary to achieve them – have high rates of academic success. They also have lower rates of problem behaviors such as dropping out, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and delinquency than other schools (Rutter et al., 1979).
Black Sheroes Month aims to re-think the actual meaning and purpose of the British BHM through an exhibition, workshops and events that will focus on important black women. BHM was created in 1987 aiming at:
-Promoting knowledge of black history, culture and heritage
-Disseminating information on positive black contributions to British society
-Heightening the confidence and awareness of black people to their cultural heritage
For the second time our exhibition will be happening at Ugly Duck and this time, BSM, will be part of Ugly Duck’s Art & (H)aktivism season. Ugly Duck is an organisation that take vacant buildings and underused public places and bring them into creative use. This venue is perfect for our project, since underused spaces give the opportunity to emerging artists to exhibit outside of the typical location, that usually can’t afford, are more appealing to young people looking for alternative events, promote the power and preservation of places, as well as interactions in public spaces and increase the socialization of the art world (The Creative Community Builder’s Handbook: How to Transform Communities Using Local Assets, Arts and Culture, 2007).
*Please note that Sheroes project stands for diversity and therefore includes women, trans and gender non-conforming individuals, without them our mission wouldn’t be complete.