The past year has been a rollercoaster ride; what with Brexit and the election of US President Trump, we have seen huge political shifts. So, in a world that feels increasingly unpredictable we need our political leaders to stand up and show that one thing is non-negotiable – the human values of equality, fairness and compassion that define British society.
By way of support, Nasty Women and Creative Debuts have teamed up, giving new emerging feminist artists a platform to use their voice through the expression of art. Ahead of their Empowerment opening tomorrow night, we spoke to Calum Hall, curator and co-founder of Creative Debuts.
Can you talk us through the key influences behind deciding to curate this exhibition in celebration of International Women’s Day?
“Last year, many of our female artists expressed the challenges they have faced in the being recognised, exhibiting, and selling their work. We felt it was important to support them and offer a space to address the issues they had experienced. This is why we held our first feminist exhibition with @NastyWomenLondon last year and we wanted to continue to build momentum with #EmpowermentLDN.
The selected artists have been free to express themselves as they like and we felt this was an important aspect to the show. Creative Debuts and @NastyWomenExhibition wanted to ensure that the work created dialogue, and really offer the viewer the opportunity to walk away from the show thinking about feminist issues and the treatment of women to create social change. In order to [do] this we have to get political.”
What do you want the audience to take away after seeing your exhibition?
“As the name suggests I want people to feel Empowered! This exhibition is a true celebration of our creative community both through the tremendous talent on display and the stories told by the artworks. I want people to leave the exhibition with the mind-set that they can achieve whatever they like. I have no doubt there will be a very special energy in the building, and I am sure this will be a catalyst for even more positive change. This is exactly what Creative Debuts is about!”
You’ve got some great artists onboard; can you tell me about the selection process?
“We wanted to have a broad range of styles and mediums on show at #EmpowermentLDN but everything had to be technically impressive as well as thought provoking. I’m really proud of all the artists involved and how they have taken the opportunity and ran with it. There’s so many international artists involved from as far and wide as the United States, Nigeria, India, Iran, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden, and the UK. It’s also great to see so many artists making their exhibition debut at Empowerment, I hope this excitement and the exposure will be a driving force in their creative careers.”
Both Creative Debuts and Nasty Women show great support towards female artists. What advice would you give to a female artist trying to break into the industry?
“#EmpowermentLDN will be a preview to #TheAntiArtFair that will take place on 4 – 7 October 2018. Creative Debuts will be working with a range of partners including @NastyWomenExhibition to deliver The Anti Art Fair to coincide with Frieze Art Fair in London. The fair will be a celebration of creativity and the voice for change in the art world that puts the creators at centre stage. It will follow on from Creative Debuts’ support for equality, female empowerment, diversity and accessibility. The Anti Art Fair will be a direct response to the sterilised, exclusive and money driven art world. So my advice will be don’t give up and we are behind you all the way!”
Empowerment is on 8th-10th March at The Black & White Building, Shoreditch. Grab a ticket while they last, the opening night is already SOLD OUT. Find out more HERE.
Photos © Francena Ottley