WOCI Reading Group is reconvening at South London Gallery with artist Veena Stephenson

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Join us for Women of Colour Index Reading Group with artist Veena Stephenson, facilitated by Samia Malik.

Full Address: South London Gallery, 65–67 Peckham Road, London SE5 8UH

Event Date: Wednesday 23rd October 2019
Time: 7.00pm – 8.30pm

Workshop reading text:

“I left Africa when I was six. Leaving Africa and coming here was a traumatic experience – it took me probably the next twelve years to get over it. I’d moved to a totally different environment in a different country, from Nairobi which didn’t feel at all urban at the time, to Hackney in London.” Veena Stephenson interviewed by Rukhsana Mosam, Bazaar 10 (early 1990’s).

* Photocopies of the extended version of this text will be available during the session.

Veena Stephenson – Biography 2019
My heritage is South Asian, I was born in Kenya, and grew up in London from the age of six years. I am a professional artist, acupuncturist, writer and an activist.
During decades of practice, knowledge, experience and expertise my work has unfolded – to overlap, cross-over, correlate and weave in and out of these areas. As an artist I identify with postmodernism and its non-linear multiplicities, and with a critically deconstructive standpoint towards modernism’s linear, monolithic and hierarchical structures.

All my work unfolds with the holistic normality of the Eastern paradigms of India and China, which seamlessly connect the external physical, interpersonal, social, political, etc. environments with internal personal physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects held and processed within the body. These correlate with the Western bioscience paradigm which I research and refer to in my practice.

Selected materials as follows:
Artist – My work has been exhibited at Arnolfini in Bristol, Bluecoat Galleries in Liverpool, Cornerhouse in Manchester amongst others. Exhibitions included Trophies of Empire, Table for Four, Keeping it Together, Black People and the British Flag. Commissions include RSA award for Art in Architecture to produce “Tangled Roots” for Unity Housing Association: and “Ring A Ring A Roses, A Pocket Full of Posies, Atishoo! Atishoo…“ for Trophies of Empire.

Writer – My dissertation “Rubbing Culture’s Nose in the Mud of Politics” is published in “Passion: Discourses in Black Women’s Creativity”. My poetry, discussion and artwork is published in “Beyond Frontiers: Contemporary British Art by Artists of South Asian Descent, and elsewhere. I was guest editor for Feminist Arts News, in my capacity as coordinator of the Asian Women Writers’ Collective to combine publication of poetry and visual artwork.

Acupuncturist – I have been practicing professionally for 10 years with over 30 years of personal practice within the Taoist, Buddhist and Yogic paradigms. I treat conditions such as miscarriage, insomnia, anxiety/depression, pain, infertility etc. I have worked for 2 decades in therapeutic support for adult survivors and safe parents of children who have been sexually abused, as well as for Mind, the mental health organisation.
Activist – I was closely involved in successful, groundbreaking grassroots campaigns against miscarriages of justice/racism/domestic violence, with Hackney Community Defence Association, Newham Monitoring Project, Southall Black Sisters, Justice for Women, etc.

Website: https://www.veenacupuncture.com

WOCI Reading Group
WOCI (Women of Colour Index) Reading Group is currently organised and facilitated by co-founder, director: Samia Malik and co-assistant Alaa Kassim. WOCI is a collection of slides and papers collated by artist Rita Keegan Indexing Women of Colour artists during 1980’s and 1990’s. Reading Group sessions aim to improve the visibility of women of colour artists whilst using material in the archive to generate discussions, thoughts around practices of: anti racism, anti colonisation and political justice. All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, religions and race are welcome.

South London Gallery event link: https://www.southlondongallery.org/events/women-of-colour-index-reading-group-veena-stephenson/

 

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WOCI Reading Group is pleased to present ‘Bringing the Spice’ an event by WAH at Raven Row

We Are Here! Women Artists of Colour is a platform committed to raising the profile of this under- represented demographic. We want and need to be seen and heard. We aim to provide support through events, exhibitions and workshops to broaden research in this area and prevent erasure of this important work.

Bringing the Spice is a one-day event at Raven Row hosting exhibition of works responding to themes of Food, Memory and Identity. A collective reading and a food performance followed by a shared meal.

Event starts at 3pm

Exhibition and Introduction of the participating artists 3:00-4:30 pm
Collective Reading followed by discussion 4:30-6:00 pm
Cooking Performance followed by shared meal 6:00-8:00 pm
This event was made possible by the generous support of the UAL Post-Grad Community Project Fund.

**This event will be filmed. ***

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Eventbrite Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bringing-the-spice-tickets-64918317435?utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=new_event_email&utm_term=viewmyevent_button

WOCI Reading Group at Raven Row Open House

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WOCI Reading Group at Raven Row Open House

WOCI Reading Group installation, including artwork by Michelle Williams Gamaker – Elephant Boy, (2015, HD video) and Brown Queers (2017, HD video). Samia Malik – Art, Fashion and the Institution, 2019.

On: Saturday 4 May and Sunday 5 May, 12pm to 6pm

At: Raven Row, 56 Artillery Ln, Spitalfields, London E1 7LS

All Welcome!

W: https://wocireadinggroup.wordpress.com
FB: WOCI Reading group
Twitter: @WOCIReading

WOCI Reading Group at Museum of Impossible Forms: Vision and Voice

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Join Women of Colour Index Reading Group with Michelle Williams Gamaker and Samia Malik at Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki; looking at an unique archive that charts the emergence of women of colour artists during the 1980s and 1990s. For some of these individuals, the Index is the only written record of their work. This session will be focused on Vision and Voice, December 1985.

Full address:
Museum of Impossible Forms,
PL 64
00940 Helsinki

Date: Monday 19th November 2018
Time: 11am – 6pm

AM session 11am – 1pm
– Welcome from Museum of Impossible Forms
– Introduction by WOCI Reading Group, describing how the group formed, ensuing – activity. Michelle Williams Gamaker and Samia Malik – artist presentation.

Break/refreshments 1pm-3pm

PM session 3pm-6PM – WOCI Reading Group explores Vision and Voice, December 1985.

Workshop reading text:
“I left the conference with a distinct feeling that in 1985, ‘black art is synonymous with Macho art. At the outset, it was suggested that black women’s art represented a possible ghettoization within a ghettoization. I’d always believed that the art of black  women was recognised as a valid part of the struggle. ‘A Thin Black Line’ exhibition at the ICA was, to my mind, the ultimate confirmation of that fact. The Vision and Voice conference revealed that some black men refuse to understand black women’s art and are attempting to confine them to a sexual bantusan in much the same way that ethnic categories invalidate black art as a whole.

Women were patronised by the token presence of Rita Keegan – the only speaker dealing with ‘Women’s Perspectives’ – and the suggestion that black women had only began to practice art in the last ten years. When challenged about the former, the Chair Errol Lloyd claimed that within the day’s program there had not been the time nor space to “deal with everyone”. Sound familiar? With regards to the latter, one female member of the audience felt obliged to explain that black women throughout history have been producing functional art, be it embroidery on Indian garments or ceramics in the form of cooking utensils etc.” Vision and Voice, December 1985.

Link to full text: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10ciLlbSDA2CVAQeyT9aqLRgteg5w9c6jlowkAUH6a2E/edit

WOCI Reading Group
The Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group was set up in October 2016 by artists, Samia Malik, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman. The WOCI Reading Group aims to improve visibility for women of colour artists whilst using archive material to generate discussion and practice around current social and political concerns.

The reading group meets on a monthly basis to discuss work within the Women of Colour Index (WOCI); a unique collection of slides and papers collated by artist Rita Keegan that chart the emergence of Women of Colour artists during the ‘critical decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s. Reading group sessions aim to improve the visibility of women of colour artists whilst using material in the archive to generate discussion, thought and practice around current social and political concerns. All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, (dis)abilities, religions and race are welcome.

This event is assisted by Never Done https://neverdone.org.uk and financially supported by International Curators Forum (ICF) and The Finnish Institute in London

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WOCI Reading Group with Joy Gregory 

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Join Women of Colour Index Reading Group with Michelle Williams Gamaker and Samia Malik and guest contributor Joy Gregory who will talk about this unique archive that charts the emergence of women of colour artists during the 1980s and 1990s. For some of these individuals, the Index is the only written record of their work. This session will be focused on British artist Joy Gregory, who will discuss her current work and how the Index acts like a ‘time capsule’.

This event is part of Daylighting at the Welcome Collection, a four-day programme of events to challenge archives, change narratives and amplify new voices.

Full address: Reading Room on level 2, Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE

Event Date: Friday 19th October 2018
Time: 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Joy Gregory Bio
Born in England to Jamaican parents, Joy Gregory grew up in Buckinghamshire later studying at Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education, Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. Since finishing college in 1986 her work has been exhibited all over the world, and featured in many biennales and festivals. Over the year she has received numerous awards for her practice including in 2002 a Fellowship from the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts.

Her usual medium is photography but she is an artist of ideas rather than material and was a short-listed artists for the Mary Seacole Memorial – a major sculpture Commission in London. Ranging from Still life and self portraiture in late 1980’s the work developed to include articles and accessories of dress, landscape – most especially sea and city-scape – portraits of others and more recently medicinal plants. Most importantly the different photographic processes are applied is a means of adding clarity to the ideas behind the work– 19th century cyanotype, for example, adds a dimension of time and suggests narrative structure. Often, as in Cinderella Story, where a pair of glamorous golden shoes finds itself in a variety of romantic cities, two subject strands will be pulled together in a delicately ironic or touching individual / universal experiences of life.

Joy Gregory’s work has been influenced by a combination of race, gender and aesthetics often reflecting on issues colonization and its effects on culture and identity politics. Underlying a variety of themes are explorations of beauty, gender, memory and place, and the issues of control and power in relation to constructed narratives of femininity, race and place. She is known for her work around issues of ‘beauty’ and the impact of the European colonial project on the everyday lives of ‘ordinary people’ in the contemporary world. Since 2003, Gregory has been working on the issue of language endangerment, The first of this series of related works was realised as the short film, Gomera, which premiered at the 2010 Sydney Biennale. The second of these works focuses on a small community based in the southern Kalahari whose experience of language loss echoes that of in Indigenous peoples around the globe. Their language N|u narrated through the lives of two sisters Keis & |Una and the experiences of their descendents.

Joy was a shortlisted artist for the UK General Election Artist Commission of 2015 and participated in the g 57th Venice Biennale 2017 as part of the Diaspora Pavillion. Examples of her work are featured in private and public major collections around the world including Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, and Yale University, New Haven. She lives and works in London, UK most recently teaching at Slade and Camberwell College of Art.

Workshop reading text:

“DO YOU HAVE ANY OCCASIONS WHERE IT ACTUALLY AFFECTS YOU BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE PUT THEIR OWN PREJUDICES ONTO YOU? Yes I do because people expect me to behave in a certain way which is why so much ATTENTION WAS DRAWN TO THE WAY THAT I was working at college because I wasn’t going out and photographing people in their environment so I wasn’t going my lot for the 4% of this country and I was in such a wonderful position to do it and to actually bring it all to light but it would have been really noble of me to do that but I’m selfish and I just wanted to get on with my work and left alone. It’s like typecasting and its a self fulfilling prophecy while people see that Black people may take better pictures of the Black community so they assume we must take pictures of the black community but they can take pictures of any community they choose.” Polareyes, Issue No 1, 1987

* photocopies of the extended version of this text will be available during the session

WOCI Reading Group
The Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group was set up in October 2016 by artists, Samia Malik, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman. The WOCI Reading Group aims to improve visibility for women of colour artists whilst using archive material to generate discussion and practice around current social and political concerns.

The reading group meets on a monthly basis to discuss work within the Women of Colour Index (WOCI); a unique collection of slides and papers collated by artist Rita Keegan that chart the emergence of Women of Colour artists during the ‘critical decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s. Reading group sessions aim to improve the visibility of women of colour artists whilst using material in the archive to generate discussion, thought and practice around current social and political concerns. All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, disabilities, religions and race are welcome.

To book tickets please visit Welcome Collection Webpage: https://wellcomecollection.org/events/W5e6oSYAACMAMpqA

TAKING STOCK – WOCI Reading Group at EAST Eating At the Same Table Presents Phantasy Art School

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Full address: Bold Tendencies, Floors 7-10, SE15 4TG London
Event Date: Saturday 29th September 2018
Time: 2pm – 3pm

The WOCI Reading Group will share a selection of material from their personal archives and experiences. This session will map the individual journeys of members of the group in creating and engaging with politicised and anti racist artworks as a prompt for wider discussion with those present.

WOCI Reading Group
The Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group was set up in October 2016 by artists, Samia Malik, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman. The WOCI Reading Group aims to improve visibility for women of colour artists whilst using archive material to generate discussion and practice around current social and political concerns.

The reading group meets on a monthly basis to discuss work within the Women of Colour Index (WOCI); a unique collection of slides and papers collated by artist Rita Keegan that chart the emergence of Women of Colour artists during the ‘critical decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s. Reading group sessions aim to improve the visibility of women of colour artists whilst using material in the archive to generate discussion, thought and practice around current social and political concerns. All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, disabilities, religions and race are welcome.

For tickets please visit: https://billetto.co.uk/e/eating-at-the-same-table-presents-phantasy-art-school-tickets-307927

To apply for free tickets please email: community@boldtendencies.com

Join the WOCI Reading Group in exploring, activating and indexing representations of cultural identity within the Panchayat Special Collection at Tate with Symrath Patti 

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Full address: Tate Britain, Library & Archive Reading Rooms, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
Event Date: Friday 28th September 2018
Time: 10.30am – 1.00pm

In these collaborative monthly research sessions at Tate, the WOCI Reading Group will draw upon the Panchayat Special Collection during its anniversary year; collectively exploring and highlighting the unique material within this vital collection of rare publications and exhibition ephemera from the 1980s.

Workshop reading text:

“The Content
The overriding aim of this course was to put the girls at ease with their bodies and the changes they were undergoing. To get the girls used to the discussion environment we started with a less personal/threatening area. We encouraged them to look at similarities and differences amongst themselves, e.g. shape, colour, height etc. We followed this upon the next session by looking at the changes their bodies have undergone since they were born e.g. growth, spots, bodily hair etc. We had asked them to bring in baby photos of themselves to help facilitate a comparison. This put the sessions that were to follow into context: We were going to look look at specific changes, making clear that they were perfectly normal and necessary.” GEN, an anti-sexist education magazine, women’s education group.

* photocopies of the extended version of this text will be available during the session.

Panchayat Special Collection
Panchayat was co-founded by Shaheen Merali and Allan de Souza in 1988, after consultation with artists Bhajan Hunjan, Symrath Patti, and Shanti Thomas. Panchayat was first organised by its co-founders as a project based arts organisation whose focus was to create an archive of works by contemporary artists who produced issue-based work, often in relation to developing and addressing plurality in multicultural environments. As Panchayat developed it was involved in publishing, curating exhibitions, programming conferences, and workshops.

The Panchayat Collection consists of documentation and reference library material relating to the cultural activities and activism predominantly in Britain, mainland Europe, North America and SE Asia between the 1980s and 2003. The Panchayat archive’s collecting strategy focused on the growing interactions within a globalising artworld of Black and Asian artists, as well documenting their commitment to the intersection between race, class, gender, policed sexualities, and (dis)ability. Dr Janice Cheddie and Shaheen Merali were keepers of the Panchayat Archive at the University of Westminster 2002 -2015 and remain central to its future development.

In May 2015 the contents of the collection were donated to the Tate Library as part of its Special Collection and since then has attracted researchers from both the arts and the humanities, including newer audiences that are interested in diasporic connections, Black and Asian British artists 1988- 2003, curatorial practices that emerged in the late eighties and in the role of women of colour in the visual arts and education.

Symrath Patti
Symrath Patti is an artist based in London and also one of the founders of Panchayat Archive. She currently has a studio with ACAVA in Shepherds Bush. Her work is installation based and explores the site of the female body as a deconstructive process. The early exhibitions and curating included: ‘Creation for Liberation’ 1985, ‘Artists Against Racism’ 1989, ‘Panchayat’ 1988 at Soho Poly Theatre, ‘Jagrati’ 1986, ‘The Complete Promise’ 1990, ‘Cuban Biennale’ 1991, ‘Cher Cher La Femme’ 1996.Throughout the 80’s and 90’s Symrath worked in arts development and education creating a space for dialogues. She was also advisor for Greater London Arts  and Campaign Organisations such as Southall Monitoring Group. More recently she exhibited at Kingsway Corridor at Goldsmiths University and making new work exploring Asian Patriarchy/Matriarchy in the Punjabi language.

WOCI Reading Group
The Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group was set up in October 2016 by artists, Samia Malik, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman. The WOCI Reading Group aims to improve visibility for women of colour artists whilst using archive material to generate discussion and practice around current social and political concerns.
The reading group meets on a monthly basis to discuss work within the Women of Colour Index (WOCI); a unique collection of slides and papers collated by artist Rita Keegan that chart the emergence of Women of Colour artists during the ‘critical decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s. Reading group sessions aim to improve the visibility of women of colour artists whilst using material in the archive to generate discussion, thought and practice around current social and political concerns. All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, disabilities, religions and race are welcome.

To book tickets please visit Tate Webpage: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/talk/women-colour-index-reading-group