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.
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/