Women of Colour

The collision of lockdown and the Black Lives Matter activism rebirth we have experienced this summer has made it impossible to ignore the fact that people of colour in the UK and around the world still aren’t considered worth the same level of freedom and justice as white folk. The system is still not only biased, but also built on colonialist and racist principles that consider non-white citizens second-class citizens at best.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been well-evidenced that Covid-19 has hit people of colour hardest when it comes to health. However, it may be less known that women of colour have been far worse affected by poverty and debt during the current crisis:

  • 42.9% of WoC said they believed they would be in more debt as a result of the pandemic, compared to 37.1% of white women, and 34.2% of white men. A similar proportion, 42.9% of WoC, said they would struggle to make ends meet over the next three months.
  • A quarter of mothers of colour reported that they were struggling to feed their children (23.7%).
  • Work-related anxiety for those working outside the home was highest among WoC, with 65.1% of WoC and 73.8% of men of colour reporting anxiety as a result of having to go out to work during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Nearly half of WoC (45.4%) said they were struggling to cope with all the different demands on their time at the moment, compared to 34.6% of white women and 29.6% of white men.
  • Over twice as many WoC and men of colour reported that they had recently lost support from the government (42.5% and 48.3%) than white women and white men (12.7% and 20.6%).
  • Over half of WoC said that they were ‘not sure where to turn for help as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, compared to 18.7% of white respondents.

Source: Fawcett Society, in partnership with the Women’s Budget Group and academics from the London School of Economics and Queen Mary.  Available here.

Tired of trees

‘Tired of Trees?’ depicts a young, black mother during lockdown in a German suburb. The film illustrates my ambiguous experience, as the serenity of spring clashed with global events. Using a visually and thematically fragmented style, I interrogate the pandemic, the struggle for social justice, and the climate crisis as interconnected socio-political issues. The film highlights how everyday actions within isolation have become acts of public importance, and hints at how focusing on the small, quiet, and immediate has the potential to liberate and empower. My excursions into a local forest raise numerous questions around environmental consciousness and access to rural spaces. The solitude in the images reflects the strangeness of being the only person of colour in these “natural spaces”. Changes in narrator and addressee illustrate the general uncertainty of pandemic times. I invite viewers to share in my process of discovery.

Pearl Of The East
Sunflower
Tea For Tower
A Sleeping Flower Never Weeps

The sculpture series “Tea For Tower ” investigates the domestic spaces which many immigrant women occupy in the UK, and also the types of labour that they find themselves doing, often centered around housekeeping and co-habitation with extended family. These works reflect the dynamics and predicaments between family members, friends and partners living in an enclosed space whilst jobs, schools and social life are erased. First hand experience of this gave Yan a new perspective on the lives of her female relatives and ancestors – what shaped their world, and the domestic systems they constructed as a result. 

These sculptures also investigate the history of colonialism in western countries. The ways in which tea has been assimilated into British culture and tokenized as a symbol of high class and wealth, has westernized how Chinese immigrant women approach the rituals that come with tea ceremonies. The tea tower takes the form of a pagoda tower that also echoes the shape of an afternoon tea stand, each level occupies a different story of the making of a home to be understood with time.

In the painting “A Sleeping Flower Never Weeps”, the jade cabbages that float around the balcony space of a pagoda tower represent the rituals specific to each immigrant family.

Hope

“Where do we look for hope in the times of crisis? ‘Hope’ shows women from all over the world fighting Coronavirus as carers and protectors of their communities. The collage is derived from a range of sources; online articles, news apps, and stills from social media. Each drawing is rotated 90 degrees before adding a new layer of truth and perspective on the consequences on Coronavirus in other countries. Women in Sudan collect essentials food handouts, a woman in Japan prays with a mask on in an open-air market, a church in South Korea continues worshipping socially distanced and a family in India walk to their hometown with all of their belongings.

 

Across continents we see women playing a vital role in rebuilding and advocating for their families.​ A testament to their strength and resilience. Perspective is powerful in the face of suffering and taking time to reflect on the conditions of other women has been an unsettling and challenging thought process for me.”

Regardless

“Many of my family members, like me, are key workers. As such, we all continued to work throughout the Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ period. It became apparent to me not only the disproportionate number of people who worked in these frontline jobs that were BAME, but also that despite being told how invaluable we were in our society, the salaries clearly did not reflect such ranking. There were also issues around providing adequate PPE.

The piece is entitled ‘Regardless’ as I wanted to capture what one care worker told me during the height of lockdown: “I’m gonna have to work regardless because I’m on zero hours and if I don’t go in, I don’t get paid. I don’t qualify for the furlough scheme and I’ve got bills to pay!”. Regardless can be viewed through a number of lenses – starting with the two definitions of the word ‘despite the prevailing circumstances’ and / or ‘without regard or consideration for’.

The collage text in the piece is taken from The Economist magazine, other text includes words taken from U.K. government briefings, social media and conversations with my family members.”

Living in Assemblage through Opacity, Care, and Poetics. A Survival Praxis for NOW.

In these times of global reckoning as a consequence of the lack of care we have shown for our Earth that sustains us, and the siloed way we live together as global citizens. To resist further jettisoning ourselves towards ecological, economic, and social Anthropocene’s, we must expand how we live together, of how our identities, our differences, our sameness can coexist to survive and sustain. We need to be a “We that needs no other” in the words of Sylvia Wynter.

In reflection of the beautiful endeavor Sylvia Wynter put forth, we need to create a survival praxis that establishes how to live in assemblage, or what Édouard Glissant writes about as creolization. We need to activate a process of learning to be with others and to form a community in a holistic manner that is dedicated to caring by respecting Opacity. In the writings of Glissant, Opacity is the right to difference, the disavowal of mundane identity-based transparency that we have been indoctrinated to seek out. Kathryn Yusoff and her work on the revision of the grammar and implications of geology in the wake of industrializing, extractive practices and economies, and capitalism to unpack our arrival at the Anthropocene provides the framework for care. Care is about the intention to relearn and put into praxis the possibilities of being together through difference. Poetics is a way of engaging in dialectics around sustainability and futurity while respecting the right to Opacity.

Poetics is the backbone of assemblage, learning how to communicate through the amplification of relation fostered through the respect of differences. Poetics will be explored through the writing of Alexis Pauline Gumbs where she engages with the process of finding a ceremony that is inspired by Sylvia Wynter’s call for the generative making of being together as a praxis.

SHEROES PRIZE

Vote for your favourite artist to help her win the Sheroes Prize!

With Art Fund support, the chosen artist will win £150.

The Sheroes Prize Winner will be announced on our second Virtual Talk and Closure Event on November 25th – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Related content

Coronavirus: Impact on BAME women
‘The state will not save us, only we can save us’: a collective response to Covid-19
Coronavirus UK: BAME women suffer harder financial hi

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.

Yara Richter

Inspired by motherhood, Yara Richter’s work explores power struggles between the natural and the “man-made” through an intersectional, eco-feminist lens. In searching for cycles and evolutions in various physical, emotional and mental states, she questions notions of permanence. Richter’s creative practice is experimental, intuitive, and diverse – she creates and combines poetry, video art, photography, sound art and electronic music.

Her work intends to dismantle boundaries between art, academia and ”the ordinary” by emphasising interactions between producer and observer, inviting audiences to reflect on distinctions and connections, in order to draw attention to the complexities of existence.

An Yan

An Yan was born in Beijing, graduated from Central Saint Martins and works in London. Yan’s practice investigates the untranslatability of specific East Asian cultural symbols and tropes through painting in order to go beyond cultural relativism. Many of Yan’s materials are ready made fabrications local to Beijing and London, including ‘Fine China’ plates and porcelain – a historically important commodity. With technical precision, hyperrealist tendencies, and sublime, abstracted amalgamations of past observations and ruminations, Yan’s paintings are replete with internal references to other paintings or past subjects.

Kelly Frank

Kelly Frank is a figurative painter from Durban (South Africa) whose work explores the notion of discrepancies in our body and soul – she is interested in sincerity and how we show that as individuals and as communities. Much of her work concerns hidden stories of domestic life – she seeks to peel away barriers and tell honest stories. Using orientation and surface, her artwork questions the role of truth in society. Frank studied at the Barcelona Academy of Art and recently appeared in the Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2019. Her work has been exhibited at the Mall Galleries.

Linett Kamala

Linett Kamala is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, facilitator and carnivalist born in London, U.K. to Jamaican parents. Deeply rooted in community empowerment, her socially engaged creative practice ranges from developing school leaders, to taking up space through Carnival culture via disciplines including mixed media paintings, sculpture, DJ soundscapes and performance art.  Her signature style is ‘freestyle calligraffiti’. She draws inspiration from oral histories, carnival culture, academic papers and abstract expressionism. Kamala is President of the University of the Arts London Alumni of Colour Association and Board Director for the Notting Hill Carnival.

Clareese Hill

Clareese chooses to slip between first and third person in her description of herself, emphasising the internal/personal and external/societal aspects to the construction of identity.

I’m a Practice-Based Art Researcher working in New York and London. I’m interested in exploring the word “identity” through her perspective as an Afro-Caribbean American woman. My work with the word “identity” is spawned from my experiences of her social precarity due to constructs of race, gender, and class. Her practice is first informed by autoethnographic observations that become entangled with critical theory and various technologies. Through my work, I attempt to speculate about the role of the word “identity” plays in contemporary Western Society by instantiating research projects that attempt to disrupt the role of the word and its operation.

What do you think?

We'd love your feedback !

Sign up for updates