The key part of this project are the 10 pieces of public art that we have commissioned from 5 Mexican artists and 5 British artists. We deeply believe in the power of art to change and disrupt narratives: we want the artworks in this project to reach as many people as possible, so that we challenge dangerous ideas about femicide, and inspire action. We have selected these 10 artworks because of their creativity, the immense talent of each artist, and because we agree with the message they convey, which is expressed clearly and with potential to generate impact. These pieces remind us that all women are valuable and important, that we are more than our bodies, but that at the same time, whatever our body, we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in our societies, whether by the media, the authorities, or other members of the public. These pieces remind us that public space is ours, and we have every right to occupy it, enjoy it, walk through it without fear of what might happen to us, simply because we are women. These artworks give us goosebumps because they involve us, they remind us that the victims of femicide are ordinary women and girls like our mothers, our sisters, our cousins, our friends, women like you, and me.
Here we present the winning proposals of the commissions (which are worth £500 each). They will be rolled out or installed in various public spaces from now until October 2021. We will be sharing more information on our social media so that you can go and see the artworks when they happen. We will update this page as the commissions are rolled out.
︎Large Text Format
This is Not a Memorial
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [A photo of a bricked back alley with graffiti over the wall and door]
Our media reinforces ideas that there are ‘correct’ forms of femininity and those who do not perform their assigned gender ‘correctly’ are placing themselves in danger, resting the blame squarely on their shoulders. This is amplified in the public sphere, where invisible lines are drawn across our towns and cities, denoting where it is ‘safe’ for women. The narrative enforced by the media is that because women understand the dangers they face, they victimise themselves and therefore do not deserve to be remembered, respected or mourned.
Public memorials are an important element of our cultural backdrop. They help us identify who/what is worth remembering, who/what is of value and signify who is permitted to use that space. Rosies practice will analyse both official and unofficial public memorials to explore answers to the questions: Who do we choose to remember, how do we choose to remember them and why? For men, memorials celebrate victories in industry, politics and war. Women cannot rely on public memorials to celebrate their victories, instead depending on unofficial memorials as an indication of dangerous places or people in their vicinity. These memorials send a clear message to women: YOU COULD BE NEXT. THIS SPACE IS NOT FOR YOU.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [A photo of a wall with red graffiti all over it]
"Dalia" is a series of posters that will be pasted on walls to create a collage. Vika’s work is based on her own experience creating content on social networks related to femicide and the tragedies that have happened in her country, Mexico. Vika thinks that feminist artists and activists have made serious mistakes in this process, such as sharing undignified images of femicide victims, and she wants to create the same awareness that she developed after realising that instead of doing something positive, she was causing the revictimisation of a woman. She has tried to capture this process of self-criticism and reflection in Dalia. Her work is an invitation and a challenge to people who continue to perpetuate these behaviours or consume them on social networks. The purpose is to constantly ask ourselves what we share, how and why we do it; what is the purpose of our platform and what is our responsibility; what role are we playing in all this?
The Dirt Under my Fingernails
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [A photo of a naked womans body lying in a wooded area the sun is shining through the trees]
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [Photos of 15 small images of a naked woman's body placed around a forest area in different positions]
'The dirt under my fingernails is a filmed performance. This work has taken the form of film installation, photography, and zine. The work is concerned with trauma, memory, and place. The artist herself is nude in a wooded area, which is the sort of place where women's bodies are often discovered; in reclaiming their trauma, memory, and place. The way murdered women are published into the media, taking away everything of who they were to look like a lump of meat in a space angered the artist, because even when these women are deceased the male gaze holds them captive in the way they are photographed. This is an issue the artist reflected on during her performance. The message she wants to communicate is women can not be ignored anymore, the loss and the fear are real and the only way the world will realize it is if this is communicated in real life, out of the gallery but in the spaces that everyone comes across.
Jessica will be developing this work into the public by placing large video pieces in Quarry Hill Nature Reserve.
WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT CLICK HERE
Instagram - @jessica_warren_art
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [ A photo of a woman holding a crying baby, the womans face is blurred out]
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [ A photo of a woman making food, her face is blurred out]
ESTAMOS VIVAS Y VIVAS NOS QUEREMOS
In this participatory action, the artists invite passersby to fill out a "certificate of survival." It attests to women’s survival in this patriarchal system. The women who participate reflect on their personal experience and ideas for how to end femicide, stating what they can commit to doing and what they can urge the state to do to protect women. The action will take place in three peripheral points of Mexico City - Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl (Edomex), Tláhuac and Xochimilco. It is important to activate the piece in the outskirts of the City because it is where women are most vulnerable, where femicide takes more lives and perpetrators enjoy more impunity.
Mine and Fru have been feminist activists for eleven years. They believe that artistic practices have a critical potential, since they allow us to reflect on and question the conventions and mechanisms that oppress, constrain and violate people. Art allows us to create spaces outside of established places, new spaces and relationships that fracture the patriarchal system. Art imbues feminist activism with colour, play, creativity, community.
Instagram - @mineyfru
Gina-Maria Marchella McCarthy
This piece is the bringing together all the descriptors used when talking about female murder victims in the context of a true-crime documentary. These are quotes from family and friends who knew the women and girls well, but also the words of presenters and narrators who were creating the sensationalism required in these types of TV programs and films. The quotes become repetitive quite quickly, they are generic, they say very little about the victims. The quotes are merged together so that they appear to be talking about one woman. Some quotes contradict, some are repetitive, but they all come together in a blur of perfection and angelic innocence. The ideal woman.
The victim may have never heard these labels of ‘ray of sunshine ‘or’ fun-loving, happy go lucky themselves. In death, these women get lumped together and get the generic treatment of buzzwords and taglines that describe what we expect a female victim to be,innocent, unsuspecting, and perfect.
This work will be developed into a sound, performance piece to be displayed in Middlesbrough Pineapple Black Window Space.
Instagram - @gina.m.m.m
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [An orange poster with a head centred in the middle was a purple balaclava over the face showing eyes and a grimace mouth. Bubbled writing is over the face saying ‘A woman on her own isnt waiting for you’]
Georgina Lance is a young circuit and dance-trained creative who uses the medium of movement in her art. Thinking about her embodied identity, she believes it is very powerful to witness a queer, person of colour with a femme form expressing and narrating an idea through dance.
Free Fem is about the conflict of existing peacefully in the femme form, while at the same time experiencing violence and misogyny. This is a personal piece that centralises the frustration of how victims of femicide are portrayed, vilified and blamed for their own deaths, contrasted with the pureness and joy of movement and women indulging their bodies, sensuality and artistry.
The commissioned piece will be a pole dancing piece performanced by Georgina. Pole dancing is often stigmatised and villainised, but Georgina wants to show the beauty of pole dance, since this art form has been powerful in helping her to reclaim her own agency.
Georgina will be working with Tees Valley Arts in creating her commission.
Instagram - @georginalanc
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [3 drawings of neo classical style heads with missing parts, drawn in pink]
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [Close up of bricked wall with graffiti on the walls]
The work Rosie has produced so far draws upon neoclassical architecture and artefacts to explore the idea of women as ornament. Many of the memorial customs in Britain today stem from the Georgian and Victorian eras, when neoclassicism was popular. During the heart of the industrial revolution and British colonisation, the systems of oppression we face today were institutionalised on a global scale. Using these aesthetically pleasing images of broken and ruined women, Rosie aims to create a dialogue about how the representation of women in public spaces reinforces sexist ideas of women being victims, sexualised objects or cautionary tales for other women.
Rosie will be working with Durham University Library & Collections on a commission for Durham Castle in creating this work into public artwork. The idea will be developed in creating mini memorials of the victims of femicide in the UK.
Instagram - @rosie.the.artist
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [ A dark red circle with the words in Spanish - ‘reproducir, revictimizar, reproducir, revictimizar, reproducir’]
The posters will have a QR code, which when scanned, allows access to the manifesto written by Vika and fellow artists, which seeks to elaborate some commitments that as artists we can fulfil to avoid re-victimising the victims of femicide or other acts of violence.
Vika will create this poster collage in Mexico City, but she will also make the files available digitally so that other activists and collectives can create collages in their own cities.
Instagram - @museodesam
¡Vivas Nos Queremos!
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [ An illustration of a figure holding portraits of their loved ones. With a woman in the centre with flowers, crosses and flames around her]
This artwork is developed from research carried out by the artist on femicide in the city of Juárez, which was one of the first
places in the country where the word femicide began to be used. She began to understand the importance of the story of the mothers who are looking for their daughters. In the act of femicide, perpetrators do not only take one life, but they also take the life, the day and the night of the mothers who seek answers, who leave no stone unturned seeking their daughters, who seek justice. Making this struggle visible is very important to Janin. The work will be transformed into a mural on the outskirts of San Luis Potosí, where those that we have forgotten live, to decentralize art and reach those women who also experience the feeling of being a woman in Mexico.
For Janín, the personal is political, and getting to know the feelings and experiences of women who have experienced violence has allowed her to continue to shape feminist art in public spaces and on walls, to represent us in places where we are not; she tries to make walls embrace women with what she paints. Art in feminist activism is very necessary. Janín and her colleagues founded the first feminist school of Urban Art in Mexico, called BRAVAS, which arose with the intention of creating safe spaces for women who paint or want to start making murals, graffiti or large-format illustration. None of this would have been possible if they had not felt inspired by feminist activism.
Instagram - @janin_nuz
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [ A photo of a woman at her desk, the womans face is blurred out]
Several women appear in this video doing everyday activities: a woman working, cooking, one with her son, one reading, another with a friend. While they carry out their activities, their faces start to blur, until their whole body is a "blur".
Headlines appear from the press. Headlines which blame the victim, say that she wanted it, in which the perpetrator is protected and validated. Headlines that call femicide a crime of passion and say that women just ‘turn up’ dead. One by one, their faces appear on missing person signs. The video will be projected on the walls of public and busy spaces in Playa del Carmen.
Lorena considers herself a feminist activist through her art. She believes that through art changes can be made. A work of art can impact, awaken emotions and ideas, provoke reflection in the viewer and transform the collective consciousness.
Instagram - @lorena.malo
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [Small images of women writing out certificates and snapshots of the performance piece.]
Yo Soy Mía
Men who kill women are not just horrible monsters that stalk us. They are usually part of our intimate circles, our family, friends, partners, people we have an emotional bond with, who we sleep, laugh and grow with. Those who think we are property. This performance seeks to bring this problem to the streets. Femicide is a subject that is ignored and minimised. Yellowgirl will appear in the space on the ground, without moving, to disrupt everyday life with a sign that says, "We don't turn up dead, they kill us." She will stay there for about 110 minutes, with every 10 minutes representing one of the approximately eleven women murdered a day in Mexico. Every 10 minutes, a recording will sound, featuring headlines that that romanticise and normalise the murder of women, and blames them as victims. During the performance, women passing by will be invited to share their feelings about gender-based violence on a blackboard which will be set up nearby. The performance will be carried out in busy areas in four different zones of Mexico City, each one representing different stages of a woman: girl, adolescent, adult and older adult.
Instagram - yelloooowgirl
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [A photo of people lying on the road with protest signs. Cars are flying past them]
Video Description [ A still handwritten letter with a voice over saying phrases of what poeple say about murdered women]
Marching pink crosses
Fighting for fallen sisters
When will it ever end.
Slutmouth wants to create a message that won't be missed. Her original idea for the project started from a conversation with a group of her friends who were all female identifying. Out of the 6, 4 had been sexually abused. That moment of realisation of the scale of sexual abuse against women really hit home with the artist. This conversation inspired more dialogue with others about how we focus the message of male violence against women, including ending femicide, towards women, not men. It is not enough to just say ‘but it's not all men’, when it is almost every woman. With this commission, the artist wants to encourage men to start challenging misogyny with their friends and family, and take responsibility for what they can do to end gender-based violence; she also wants to reach women in a way that is empowering and that inspires continuous conversation and action.
This message will be created into digital posters to be spread around Durham City Centre.
Instagram - @slutmouthdesign
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [A collage of mountains and trees with ice glaciers. There are legs and gloved hands sticking out the water. A hand grabs a whole women]
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [ A figure is holding on a pose, raising their body and legs up. The figure is wearing giant platform heeled boots]
IMAGE DESCRIPTION [ A women with curly long hair is elegantly posed on the floor]