If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I went to a private view at The Summerhouse Gallery on Friday night. It was one of those situations where I found out about something awesome and local because of a sponsored Facebook post (those things really do work!) and I just had to go.
The gallery is hosting a show called I Am Woman, a collection of work by female artists, focusing on what it is to be female. To say that it was an inspiring evening would be a massive understatement and I was seriously impressed with the efforts of owner and director Jayne Elliot and her team.
I have to admit that I don’t know that much about art and have a limited appreciation of fine art and contemporary craft, primarily because I never really came across something that ‘spoke’ to me before. That certainly wasn’t the case here and I found myself falling for the powerful figures by Theresa Gilder, the moody oilwork by Maggie O’Brien and the curvy pastels by Mary Ann Green.
Jayne’s opening speech about being surrounded by and supporting strong women rang so true to me. Since becoming a mother I have very much felt ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ and make much more of an effort to celebrate the successes of other women.
I have almost daily conversations with Luke about feminism. Despite being a self-proclaimed feminist, he is very much of the mind that perhaps so few successful films are directed by women because they don’t want to be filmmakers, whereas I side with the argument that we need to shine a spotlight on the rare occasion that a woman directs a Hollywood film so that it becomes the norm sooner and that more women see representations of themselves in popular culture.
I think that’s why I was so drawn to so many of these pieces, as I could see myself and my own life reflected back at me; I saw bodyshapes that looked like my own rather than a Westernized ideal of beauty. And the focus on motherhood reminded me just how powerful I am for having grown and raised another human being.
Performance poetry was a feature of the evening too and I was finally properly introduced to the work of Maya Angelou. Her poem Phenomenal Woman is so monumental – I wish I came across her writing sooner. In fact, I think it should be added to the curriculum; I genuinely think it would have made me see poetry, femininity and feminism in a whole new light as a teen. I was also blown away by Cornish actress and writer Olivia Lowry (pictured below with Jayne), who performed a piece she had written.
The show isn’t just about showcasing fantastic artwork – it’s also a fundraiser and awareness-raising event for Target Ovarian Cancer. Jane sadly lost a close friend to the disease and is using this opportunity to encourage women to seek medical help if they notice anything out of the ordinary. All of the artwork is on sale via a silent auction too, with the proceeds going to the charity. You can check out the full auction catalogue here. Pop down to the gallery this week or email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your bid.
Ovarian cancer is one of those strains of the disease that flies below the radar. It’s so easy to assume symptoms are linked to a different condition, such as IBS. If you have new, frequent and persistent symptoms, including pelvic/abdominal pain, bloating, feel full quickly or urinary symptoms, please seek medical attention. You can find out more about symptoms of ovarian cancer and how you can raise money for the charity here.
The Summerhouse Gallery is located in Market Place, Marazion.