Sleepover Club: Second-wave Feminist Art Practices
Introducing Sleepover Club. It’s a non-hierarchical initiative, combined with collective creativity and reclaimed second wave feminist art practice. In partnership with Brunswick Street Gallery (BSG) and The Push, Sleepover Club Initiative will launch August 15th in Melbourne, followed by an opening exhibition September 18th – October 1st at BSG in Fitzroy.
Sleepover Club aims to engage with broader conversations about feminism and encourage collaboration as well as solidarity amongst artists. The exhibition provides a catalyst for transcultural feminist solidarity, bringing together a group of female artists whose work will create conversation and ask questions.
We caught up with Jennifer Allyson, who will be exhibiting at Sleepover Club and providing a talk about feminism.
What inspired you to participate in Sleepover Club?
I’ve been exploring feminism discourse in photography since I launched my art print series in 2011, Inspiring Femininity. The series is co-created with women to showcase their experience of beauty—sometimes by capturing their reflective connection to the outdoors and the environment they live in, other times featuring the struggles they face with societal expectations while trying to find their unique non-fabricated feminine self. The images from Inspiring Femininity were previously projected in outdoor spaces at Sydney’s Fringe Festival (above St. Peters Station) and at Calgary’s (Canada) Fluid Movement Arts Festival (on the Simmons Building in East Village). When I learned about Sleepover Club, I was immediately interested in being a part of continuing this artistic discourse and representation.
Can you tell us about your interpretation of the exhibition theme – Solidarity?
Solidarity to me is about moving beyond neatly packaged definitions to allow for women and men to connect and join together to celebrate feminine characteristics. We are constantly bombarded about what it means to be feminine—media norms about the ideal body type, judgments about how women should dress and present themselves, or even opinions aimed at men about how they should “man up” and not show traits traditionally labeled as feminine. Women and men are ready to move beyond these neatly packaged definitions. They are ready to strip off the negative associations and move forward with a new sense of connectedness. Solidarity is daring, fun, playful and revolutionary. It’s feminine characteristics that are no longer something to be shameful of, or marketed, but ones to relentlessly celebrate.
What type of work will you be exhibiting at Sleepover Club?
I will be exhibiting traditional black and white film photography about women’s relationship to their reflection; it’s a subset of the Inspiring Femininity work that I call Concepts of Self. The premise relates to how women explore and develop their self-concept. Drawing on mirror reflections, which can hold great significance: self doubt, cultural expectations, or media portrayals of manufactured beauty, the work attempts to redefine the mirror image and unveil the authentic human underneath. In addition to the artwork, I will be providing a talk about the topic of feminism and in particular the relationship I have with second-wave feminism, my art, my experience as a woman and my professional work as a cause marketer—to which I have recently been contributing several projects dedicated to reducing domestic violence and preventing violence against women in Australia.
If you are interested in writing for Sleepover Club, being part of the artist collective, or contributing to future exhibitions and projects, email [email protected]. You can also follow my own photography work at www.inspiringfemininity.com and www.flickr.com/jenniferallyson.