Installation shot of I’m Inside, Ring the Bell! a contemporised interpretation of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party at 4749 Tanner Street London SE1, March 2013
‘how many women had struggled into prominence or been able to make their ideas known – sometimes in the face of overwhelming obstacles – only (like the women on the table) to have their hard earned achievements marginalized or erased’.
SLWA are a community of women artists based in South London, who present an inspirational portfolio online. We celebrate our members’ diversity, talent and ambition, providing a platform to nurture professional development by helping them access wider opportunities, help promote artist-led projects and communal activities such as talks, workshops and visits, and exhibitions of members’ works within a strong curatorial framework.
The SLWA website enables members to display their work to new audiences. It is a resource open to all our membership to access arts opportunities. Exhibitions bring the work of SLWA to the wider community and increase public awareness of art produced by women. We celebrate women of all ages, backgrounds and cultures with zest, humour and a can-do attitude. The ages of our members vary between early 20’s up to 80. It is important to procure the self-esteem of our younger members and to equally share the experience and knowledge of our more established artists.
SLWA is self-managed and self-financed, so it maintains critical independence. We currently have around 110 artists. We don’t have a selective entry system, any woman who shares a love and passion for art and who wants a profile on our site joins a waiting list. Each year when subscriptions are renewed, places are offered on a first come, first serve basis. Most of our exhibitions are selective however and we often invite outside curators, academics and practitioners to select for us.
The idea for SLWA came from a lecture series on Women Artists which Dulwich Picture Gallery ran in June 2008. Few people can name women artists from before the 19th century since their role as professional women was strictly limited. Today women artists have achieved equal prominence with men. SLWA was created to celebrate this and to give prominence to women artists living or working in South London.
Installation shot of Tender at the Stephen Lawrence Centre London SE8, March 2013
SLWA is now in its’ 5th year, and as our involvement in many varied projects increases, so has our reputation and status. We celebrate yearly at the International Women’s Day at the Women of the World Festival (WoW) on the Southbank. Throughout the WoW weekend, SLWA artists are available to talk about the work SLWA does to create opportunity for its artists to critically engage with their practice bringing this to new, and wider audiences, raising its artists’ individual profiles and public knowledge of the role of women artists in society.
We are also embarking on another large scale collaborative project this November 2013 under the theme of Art, Democracy and Women, titled Can You Hear Me Now. As Parliament Week Partners, it is our intention that this project provides SLWA members the opportunity to come together as a group and to meet with other practitioners who identify themselves with feminist art practices. We hope to encourage debate and an exchange of ideas and discourses asking what place do women play in democracy and if democracy equals having a voice and being heard, why for so long have women struggled to get themselves heard?
Artist, Curator & Chair of South London Women Artists