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


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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