Art can respond to problems, highlight injustice, or seek solutions. On International Women’s day it feels apt to mention one socially-engaged project from recent years that focused on health and attitudes to women’s bodily functions.
In 2017 my artistic enquiry into menstruation and taboo began with a working title of Crimson Waves Limerick. I felt moved to create art and poetry about period poverty, direct provision, menopause, and societal shame.
Over a few months my new visuals ( photos, paintings, and drawings) and writing explored women’s life cycles, the womb and the topics previously mentioned. Months of conversations with women of all ages revealed that stigma and shame. were common.
As time went on, the campaign to repeal the eighth amendment and the heart-breaking news of the Cervical Check scandal motivated me to curate an exhibition that would serve as a personal and social catharsis.
My partner installed the exhibition and was a rock during what was a very emotional time for women in Ireland. Women working as socially-engaged artists in England made contact with me to offer support. Change was in the air in Ireland, and people nationwide worked hard to make it happen; it was intense.
Click on images for a clearer view:
The Crimson Waves exhibition featured the writers listed above as well as visual artists Paul Mac Cormaic, Maria Mc Sweeney, Bruce Rimell, Clem Haverty, Shonagh Short and Lidia Lidia.
A few years later, more little changes started happening. Read more here: https://artyshe.com/2021/02/15/progress/.
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