Invisible women

Through history, the white heteronormative male has been a marker of precedent in how society frames perceptions of bodies, opportunity, privilege and power. In modern-day society, feminist revolution has started to shift this precedent. However despite intersectionality* amplifying in recognition as central to feminism, white, able-bodies still come out on top. It is these voices and these struggles that still attract the most attention, and minority truths continue to fight to gain visibility and recognition. From the suffragettes and Sojourner Truth’s ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ powerful speech; to the Stonewall Riots, Disability Rights Movement in the U.S, and the #blacklivesmatter movement; those ‘othered’ in mainstream discourse are still fighting for a seat at the table. 

The intersectionalities of oppressions – disability, race, gender, sexuality that place individuals at multiple disadvantage are exacerbated further in times of crisis. Covid-19 has highlighted this. Bodies marginalised under patriarchal standards are suffering during this global pandemic and for their rights to be adequately met, the differences between race, ability, sexuality and gender, at best, must be duly considered as part of society, not outside of it. We hope to reflect some of these stories within the scope of this exhibition, and remove the label of ‘invisibility’ that has surrounded them.

*Intersectionality is a theory coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 and denotes the acknowledgement that individuals experience varying levels of oppression depending on the interconnected nature of their varying social categorizations such as gender, race and class. For example, a disabled woman of colour will suffer greater discrimination under capitalist structures than a white, able-bodied woman.

Idle and Useless

“My work reflects the hidden nature of chronic pain and illness.  It reflects on the recovery days that we need to take at home alone stuck on the couch or bed.  Similarly, it connects to the crisis going on currently with COVID-19 where people are stuck inside.  People with chronic illnesses and disabilities are at even greater risk for danger from the virus and may face the challenges now of strict isolation, fear of getting sicker, and even more limited access to health resources.”

Witches and witchcraft have existed through history in the global, ancient and shamanic context, each era with differing perspectives on the role and significance of ‘the witch’. Throughout history the term has been lumbusted with negative connotations directed to shame women either on the margins of society; widows, women of colour, poor, disabled and elderly, or those in public life resisting conventional norms of what was and is still expected of women. Although these same connotations apply and can be regarded as a form of ‘invisible violence’ against women and girls, the term has been reclaimed by feminism to symbolise an ‘anti-capitalist’ resistance. ‘The witch’ has become a means to reconnect with the roots of femininity and collectivisation of womanhood, offering hope and possibility to reimagine the archetype of ‘woman’ along independent lines. We felt including recognition of this within the exhibition as important to not only highlight the messages that witchcraft and the history behind it carry through to society today. But to also remind us of the urgency and ability for women to reclaim definitions of femininity, womanhood, and sexuality in order to be truly ‘free’.

Broomstick, hair | £700

Domestic Pleasure

‘Domestic Pleasure’ plays with the tropes of the witch, reminding us of the urgency for transformation during these precarious times. The broomstick presents us with a symbol of the oppressed powerful woman who was demonised because of her sexuality. The long tresses of hair cascading from the broom’s surface are representative of feminine desire, recalling imagery of the temptress’ with long flowing locks who was exiled on account of her lustful sins. The broomstick was said to have been used as a device which 16th century women would anoint with liquid mandrake, a plant lethal to ingest orally. They would then insert the stick into themselves to ‘fly’. The broomstick represents the mundane domestic object that could be repurposed to satisfy women’s desires and perverse pleasures.

Related content

The ‘double whammy’ of being a disabled woman in the UK
Just Ask Don’t Grab Campaign
Covid 19 and the rights of disabled people

Explore other themes

Get in touch

Powered by

Sheroes is a Lon-art project. Copyright © Lon-art.org 2019.  All rights reserved.


About Us

Sheroes is a collaborative project that highlights hidden herstories through the arts.

If you want to support the sheroes cause, please donate. All the money raised will go to running more Sheroes events.

Powered by

Sheroes is a Lon-art project. Copyright © Lon-art.org 2019.  All rights reserved.

Carly Riegger

Carly Riegger is from Ann Arbor, Michigan where she took a strong interest in ceramics in high school. She went on to pursue a BFA in Studio Art, specialising in Ceramics at the Bowling Green State University. In 2018, she travelled abroad to Florence, Italy and studied for a semester at the Studio Arts International College. This experience greatly enhanced her artistic skills. During her time abroad, Carly was awarded the Jules Maidoff Award in 2018. It was then she decided to pursue her idea of ceramic dolls to express her chronic back pain. In her final BFA Thesis Exhibition at BGSU in March of 2020, she depicted her illness in small scenes using her ceramic dolls. She received the James W. Strong Outstanding Senior Award for her service and participation in BGSU’s School of Art. She is dedicated to continuing her work advocating for those with disabilities as she moves forward in her ceramic art. She will continue her work at Indiana University Southeast in their Post-Bacc Program in 2020.

Camilla Hanney

Camilla Hanney is a multi award winning artist living and working in London. Working through ceramics, sculpture and installation Camilla’s practice explores themes of time, sexuality, cultural identity and the corporeal, often referencing the body in both humorous and challenging ways. By materializing the familiar in an unfamiliar context Camilla stimulates our ability to rethink our relationship towards objects, threatening the natural order and toying with the tensions that lie between beauty and repulsion, curiosity and discomfort, desire and disgust. Her work has been exhibited in a diverse range of galleries including South London Gallery in Conjunction with Bloomberg New Contemporaries. She was granted the 2019/20 UK Young artist of the year runner up award at its inaugural award ceremony which was held at the Saatchi gallery. Her work has recently been featured in articles by Elephant magazine, Wallpaper* and Showstudio.

What do you think?

We'd love your feedback !

Sign up for updates