‘WOMANHOOD’: exhibition by XCollective

Entrance to Whitespace , 25 Howe St

A friend of mine got in touch not so long ago to let me know about this up-and-coming exhibition, focused on the topic of ‘Womanhood’. Relevant to my interests as not only a woman, but moreover a feminist, I decided it was something I had to check out at my earliest convenience. Intrigued about how this group of artists would interpret and discuss the topic of ‘womanhood’, I couldn’t help but wonder – what is a woman? 

Upon entry to the gallery, viewers are immediately struck by Olivia Robert’s sculptural piece ‘Formation of a Woman’. The 3 dimensional piece uses photography to evoke the image of a cut-and-paste woman, with a paper bag covering the face. The sculpture, inspired by Pablo Picasso and David Hackney (and perhaps Shia LeBeouf?) usurps the male gaze in its anonymity. With the face left blank and the almost pixelated image of the female body, the viewer is turned into the voyeur – self aware of their objectification. Although the image evoked is a woman, she is but a collection of images, nameless. The piece discusses objectification in the digital age as the image of the woman has become nothing more than a prop and mirror. 

The topic of objectification is also touched upon in the works of Croatian photographer and artist Marina Joncic (whose work can be seen on the artist’s tumblr: marinamche.tumblr.com). The featured work focuses mainly on the topic of  forniphilia (‘the human furniture fetish’). The work uses the female body as a prop in household furniture, a technique that both utilises and critiques the female body being used as an agent in advertisement. 
 

Photography Series by Marina Joncic

 

The exhibition also features work by Irina  Baltazar entitled ‘Woman: Assembly Instructions’, the title of which presents the idea of woman, incomplete by nature. The piece focuses on the ritualistic behaviours expected and performed by women in order to ‘be’: featuring a freshly waxed leg, the used Bioré strip, a tampon rendered useless via glitter and gold.  The make-up laden hands show the process of these rituals, often left invisible in society. The series of photographs force the viewer to ask – is a woman more than the rituals she performs to her body? Can a woman be if she does not adhere? 
 

Woman: Assembly Instructions by Irina Baltazar

 

Other work includes that of Madelayne Hajek whose work discusses the relationships between food and sex, body and beauty products, and blackness and appropriation. Entitled ‘Permanence’, Hajek provides an intersectional take on the womanhood question.  Other participators include Emidio Battipaglia, Kat Dlugozc and poet Nikki Kilburn whose poem ‘She’ prefaces the entire exhibit. 

 

Womanhood at Whitespace Gallery, Edinburgh


 
Admission is free and the exhibition itself runs from the 9th to the 14th of April at the Whitespace gallery Edinburgh, 25 Howe Street. It is a must see for anyone interested in up-and-coming female artists and their work, and definitely worth a visit if not only to answer the question ‘what is a woman?’ on the flip board provided. 

I answered with the only truth I know. I am. 

Love,

Yasmin

A New Venture 

If any of you know me, you know I’ve been a lot of things: a waitress, barista, bar tender, student, shop floor assistant, human rights volunteer and now, a dog groomers assistant. Amongst those other things I’ve written short stories that haven’t gone outside the notebook I’ve wrote them in and constructed essays that haven’t left my brain. I consider myself a feminist, engaged in politics, culture, fashion, and definitely consider myself a little bit lost in the world.
I had a conversation with my friend about the routes my life could go and how I’m not sure about which one, and she said ‘you can do anything if you want to’. And there’s so many things I want to do. 

I admire people that see a path ahead of them in life and follow it, but I see thousands of paths and dance about in each one to see how it fits and I’m done apologising and beating myself up about it. It’s okay that I lived in Glasgow for 6 months and it’s okay that it didn’t work out.  And it’s okay that I’m 23 and have a thousand dreams about who and what I want to be when I grow up. I’m not alone, I’m sure of that.

  
I’m done with viewing things in binaries – why can’t I be all of the above? Why can’t I have a space where I can be a writer and fashion blogger and photographer? Why can’t I equally be as interested in politics as the shape and cut of a dress on the high street? Why must one negate the other? 

So, although I’m saying this is a new venture, it’s really not. I’m just utilising a new space to be myself and I’m not apologising. I’m not apologising for being a little bit lost in life and I’m not apologising for coming out and saying ‘hey, I’m interested in fashion and writing’. 

Fashion blogging has always been dismissed as a fickle activity, perhaps due to its association with femininity. I’ve argued with myself in my brain about how materialistic it can be, how others might view me as narcissistic and full of myself. I’ve beat myself up about how perhaps in a few months this will dwindle and be forgotten about. I’ve felt my cheeks burning with embarrassment thinking about asking my friends to take pictures of my outfit. But why? 

I’m the kind of person that shies away from opportunities from fear of not being good enough, but this way I get to create my own opportunities. And if it dwindles and fails, it dwindles and fails. And to the people that think this isn’t necessary or that it’s vain – at least I had the gall to give it a try. 

So here it is, a fashion and lifestyle blog in the making. I hope I surprise you all by keeping this up. But most of all, I hope I do myself proud and overcome my fears by just pressing ‘post’.

Love,

Yasmin