Saatchi Gallery Presents – Sweet Harmony: Rave ft Seana Gavin and others

Today,  London’s Saatchi Gallery opens it’s doors to an immersive retrospective exhibition devoted to presenting a revolutionary survey of rave culture through a variety of various voices who have experienced it. The exhibition, titled Sweet Harmony: Rave| Today is set to open on Friday July 12th and will include several portrayals of the new world which emerged from the acid house scene. Throughout the exhibition, the space will feature multimedia room installations and audiovisual works by some of the rave movements experienced by first hand. As the concept of the acid house revolution is set to be recalled through photo series , live music events, talks and panel discussions by the movements’ architects and influencers of the 80s and 90s. 

The Saatchi Gallery’s director Philly Adams in partnership with co-curator Kobi Prempeh have assembled a team of youthful visionaries and photographers including Sheryl Garratt, Agnes Bliah, photographers Tom Hunter, Vinca Petersen and a Twin favourite Seana Gavin. In anticipation for the upcoming event, we called upon the London based artist for a quick chat on what to expect. 

. In anticipation for the upcoming event, we called upon the London based artist for a quick chat on what to expect. 

For the exhibition, your work is mainly based off your time during the Spiral Tribe,  what would you say was the definition of  the term “rave” during a time such as this?

The raves I attended began in London. They were parties put on by collectives and sound systems such a Spiral Tribe who would take over abandoned empty buildings like office blocks, factories, post offices and outdoors in fields and quarries and would transform them into spaces where people from all walks of life could sweat the night away on a dance floor surrounded by likeminded individuals. The parties were run on a donation only entrance policy. Their ethos were all about the freedom to party as a way to break away from the commercial club culture that was emerging at the same time. They were illegal, very underground and it became a subculture. When Spiral Tribe left the UK in 1993 they would continue their mission across Europe. Other sound systems followed and raves turned into multi sound system Techno Festivals known as  ‘Teknivals’.

New Years day,Barcelona by Seana Gavin

 How would you say rave culture has changed since then and in what ways has the way in which you document rave culture since then evolved?

Overlapping with the scene I was part of, rave culture expanded from illegal warehouses into ticketed commercial club events. Even though raves and Teknivals still go on today they can’t have the same energy and rawness from the early days. Nothing can be repeated like that. In the early days to find out about the parties there was a secret party line info number you’d call on the night. It is incredible to think that between 30-50,000 people attended the iconic Castlemorten 3 day rave in the British countryside in 1992 purely through these channels and on a word of mouth basis.

In Europe, flyers were also handed out to pass on info about the next party. In my era it was pre-smart phones and social media so there was less documentation. Nowadays the digital age and overload of selfie culture has tainted things. Everyone has a portable camera in their phone so there is less mystery around it.

I think it’s great that clubs like Berghain in Berlin try to keep things more old school by storing your phone as you enter the club. Which also forces you to be present in the experience and not live through the lense of your smart phone camera.

record dusting, hostomice Teknival 1998, by Seana Gavin

 What would you like your audience to take away from your series?

I’d like to think the viewers would feel a sense of intimacy to the subject matter. I wasn’t a photo journalist documenting this scene at the time, I was immersed in this way of life . The photos I’ve included in the show capture the raves locations, the journeys in between, the aftermath of the parties and people who defined the scene.

I would hope the viewers would get a sense of the perspective of what it felt like to be part of that community which was more than a night out but an alternative outlook to society and a way of life.

Twice as Nice, Aiya Napa, London, 1999
VINCA PETERSEN Bus And Rig

Other names of images makers included in exhibition are Ted Polhemus, Dave Swindells and Mattko. Throughout the exhibition, a space is created featuring the visually stimulating collections of each artist accompanied by a Spotify playlist with sub-genres of Detroit Techno, Acid House, Happy Hardcore, UK Garage and Grime. Uniting a selection of like, yet diverse minded creatives including electronic musician, visual artists and of course photographers. After the exhibition’s debut this Friday, it shall remain open to the public throughout the summer, until September 14th. For more details, visit Saatchi Gallery.

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Somerset House Studios : Get Up, Stand Up Now – June 12th – September 15th

This summer London’s Somerset House Studios will host an event in celebration of 50 years of black creativity and culture in Britain through an exhibition of art, music, photography, film , literature, design and fashion. The exhibition, set to debut on the 12th of June will feature a round up of around 100 interdisciplinary artists whose works are centred around the black experience and sensibility around the culture as they explore the definitions of what it means to be black in Britain today.

The series will feature several days of live music, drag, and performance art, as they aim to nurture a safe free space for black youth of all kind.  This will feature names like Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S) — a led sound system whose events prioritise the comfort and safety of black and non-white women , femmes queers and trans folk who will be taking over the House’s Lanchester Rooms for a few nights in July. An evening of poetry in August entitled “Deep End” and a series of club night performances called “No Tea, No Shade” addressing the use of drag culture.  For more information, visit Somerset House. 

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Playing For Keeps: Molly Matalon & Caroline Tompkins – May 23rd – June 29th

Later this month, creative studio Enlarge Your Memories, in partnership with Italian  lens-based bookstore Micacamera will open the doors to an exhibition entitled Playing for Keeps,  featuring the work of American photographers Molly Matalon and Caroline Tompkins.

This exhibition, set to open in the Micacamera space in Milan, will tell the tale of a contemporary woman’s viewpoint of romanticized America. With its infamous patriarchal history, the typical photography that addresses American ‘landscape’ has tendency to only display the postcard values of automobiles, family values and great outdoors.  However, in 2019, the idea of American lives have been expanded on by a wealth of cultural and artistic effort.

Throughout this exhibition Molly Matalon takes on a domestic point of view as she explores the narrative of the housewife. She explores the part of the typical housewife’s world not shown on camera. Portraits of home visitors, palpable sexual tension etc. With the compilation of images, she addresses the freedoms and power plays commonly associated with men in like-environment and in photography. On the other hand, Caroline Tompkins’ work embodies the female YOLO America. It displays a narrative of the fast life, climbing the highest trees, hiking the tallest mountains, getting too close to the fire.

Tompkins’ work denounces gender stereotypes and strives for a reclamation of the pseudo masculine American landscape as she schools her audience on how gratifying it is to live life with the wind blowing through one’s hair. In Playing For Keeps, the photographers explore and update the ideas of humour, sexuality, ownership and power play within today’s contemporary America. 

Image by Caroline Tompkins
Image by Molly Matalon

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Foam: “I Can Make You Feel Good” by Tyler Mitchell

Cover Image: Boys of Walthamstow, 2018, Tyler Mitchell

This Spring Foam Museum has opened photographer and filmmaker Tyler Mitchell’s first solo exhibition entitled I Can Make You Feel Good.

Since his historical debut last year with American Vogue’s September issue, featuring Beyoncé as cover, the photographer has been exploring the visuals of the black utopia ever since. This exhibition showcases a compilation of images that feature black youth in safe spaces. With the use of his signature candy coloured palettes and natural light, Mitchell creates images of young black people in gardens, park and in front of idyllic studio backdrops where his subjects appear as free, expressive and vulnerable beings. He creates a  sort of utopia around his subjects that mimic scenarios that are in contrast to what one might acknowledge as reality, bringing a sort of humanity to the forefront. 

The exhibition also premieres two of Mitchell’s video works: “Idyllic Space and Chasing Pink” and “Found Red. ” These are presented as audiovisual installations that explore the senses of play and childlike freedom within the black utopia. His stimuli for the exhibition was based off a younger period of his life where the dynamic site of Tumblr was very influential to the development of his creative vision. “I would very often come across young, attractive white models running around being free and having so much fun — the kind of stuff Larry Clark or Ryan McGinley would make. I very seldom saw the same for black people in images — or at least in the p hotography I knew of them.” I Can Make You Feel Good presents Tyler’s rendition of an earlier Tumblr in a time where it provided creative nutrients inclusive of black youth. The exhibition will run throughout the Spring at the Foam in Amsterdam until the 5th of June. 

Untitled (Two Girls Embrace) 2018, Tyler Mitchell
Untitled (Hat) 2018, Tyler Mitchell

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Congregation by Sophie Green

For the past two years British social documentary & portrait photographer Sophie Green has been working on a project in celebration of Southwark’s community of Aladura Spiritualist African churches and congregations. As the product of her detailed studies, Green has created a compilation of all the documented images of the community that is often referred to as the “white garment” churches and will be presenting them in the form of an exhibition and hardcover titled Congregation this Thursday at the Hannah Barry Gallery. 

The images give a front row seat to the Christian denomination practised by Yoruba Nigerians that throughout the past 40 years has become a greater part of Southwark London —  being the community which hosts one of the highest concentration of African churches in Europe. Congregation will also raise conversation about collective identity and power within subcultures, cultural practices and traditional dresses, food and customs in modern technology and fashion. For the project, the photographer collaborated with members of the congregation through portrait sessions and photographic workshops which go hand in hand with the candid images of the men, women and children throughout their religious practice. 

Congregation will be launched available online this Thursday and can be purchased via Loose Joints.

Congregation by Sophie Green 
Congregation by Sophie Green
Congregation by Sophie Green

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Love Me by Stella Asia Consonni – April 25th

This Thursday Italian photographer Stella Asia Consonni is set to open the doors to her solo exhibition entitled Love Me . The showcase, set to take place for one night at Protein Studios in Shoreditch, London, will feature a compilation of intimate images of with diverse couples as subjects.

The photographer first began shooting for the project a year ago, with the intention of creating an online photo series as a means of healing as she overcame her then-recent break-up. One of the images from the original series, featuring two men mid-kiss was uploaded by the photographer via instagram and was soon after deleted by the platform for “not following community guidelines.” Instagram later issued an apology and allowed the image to be re-uploaded but the second time around Consonni was met with homophobic comments and slurs in reaction to the image.

This was when she decided the best way to contest the homophobes and bigots was to create an entire exhibition in celebration of the many colours and forms of love. In addition to the photo series, the photographer will also debut a short film complementing the series by documenting short bits and pieces of these love stories. 

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Foam Talent Exhibition: May 15th

For the third year in a row,  Amsterdam based international talent organisation Foam returns to Red Hook Labs in New York for their annual group exhibition Foam Talent. Set to debut on May 15, the exhibition will feature the work of twenty international photographers who were selected through the organisation’s annual talent call from a pool of 1853 creatives under the age of 35. 

The showcase will feature the works of these artists under several tabs of contemporary themes and topics such as social politics, nostalgia, night fall, homesickness and grief. A few of the names featured will include French duo Durimel,  Chinese photographer He Bo, Australian Sophie Gabrielle, Italian Salvatore Vitale, British Maisie Cousins, among others. For further info on how to cop tickets visit Foam

Cover image: “Untitled” from the series Worry for the Fruit the Birds Won’t Eat, 2018 by Sophie Gabrielle

“Kaelyn and the girls” from the series Frères dune île pas très proche, 2018 © Durimel
“Ants” from the series grass, peonies, bum, 2018 © Maisie Cousins
Model Angela and her personal story”, 2016, from the series Separation Anxiety, 2018- ongoing © Dima Komarov
“Untitled” from the series How to Secure a Country, 2015-2018 © Salvatore Vitale

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Hayward Gallery: “Kiss My Genders” 12 June – 8 Sep

Cover Image: Martine Gutierrez, Masking Fish Mask from Indigenous Women (2018)

On June 12th this summer, central London art gallery Hayward Gallery will open it’s doors to a group exhibition titled ‘Kiss My Genders,’ showcasing the work of 30 international artists whose repertoires engage in conversation around gender identity. Curated by Vincent Honoré, the exhibition will feature a compilation of over 100 artworks by several generations of artists from across the world who share interests in articulating with themes of gender fluidity, non-binary, trans and intersex identities communicated throughout their work. The exhibition will include wide range of several types of media including installations, videos, paintings, sculptures, portraitures etc.

Juliana Huxtable Untitled Lil’ Marvel (2015)

The panel of creatives will include names who explore gender expression through the forms of performance, drag and masquerade. Such as names like Ajamu,  a London-based visual activist whose work challenges conventional understanding of sexuality, desire, pleasure and cultural production within contemporary Britain and Amrou Al-Kadhi, a British-Iraqi writer, drag performer and filmmaker, who in collaboration with British photographer Holly Falconer, created a photographic portrait Glamrou (2016) using triple exposure to communicate the experience of being in drag as a person of Muslim heritage. The exhibition will also bring forth political undertones with artist artist Hunter Reynolds who is an AIDS activist as well,  whouses art as a tool to process trauma as well as transform it. The Kiss My Gender exhibition will also be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue featuring original essays and a roundtable discussion with and from a few of the artists along with the exhibition’s curators and a performance by Berlin based artiste Planningtorock, whose song lyrics were featured as the showcase’s title. The exhibition will run throughout the summer and close its doors on September 2019. For more info visit Hayward Gallery.

Zanele Muholi, Phila I Parktown, (2016)
Catherine Opie, Mike and Sky (1993)

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Centre National de la Danse: “Where Did Our Love Go?” – March 16th & 17th

In the early 90’s during the Great Depression of the US, there began an interesting tradition of exhaustive dance marathons.  Participants would dance for hours while mesmerised audiences made bets on winners and predicted losers. Although they included many rules with risks of disqualification, these marathons offered a  cathartic release as they acted as a sort of mirror to the crisis happening where the main aim was survival as opposed to glamour.

French institution Centre National de la Danse as a part of their Trois Fois Rien exhibition recently tapped artist and choreographer Émilie Pitoiset to conceive a performance titled, “Where Did Our Love Go?” in ode of the iconic dance marathons. The 6-hour performance set for March 16 &  17 at the institution’s headquarters in Pantin, France will explore the dance form which Pitoiset has been studying since 2009. It will include repertory of gestures and postures which are at the heart of her studies and artistic works from the time period which will feature the bodies on the borders of falling, intimately enduring the mechanisms of capitalism in ways to appear increasingly contemporary. For more information, visit CN D.

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“The Wahi Series”, – Northern New York City as seen by Kasandra Enid Torres

Kasandra Enid Torres is a culture and fashion photographer based in Washington Heights, NYC who has been documenting the soulful inhabitants of her neighbourhood for the past three years. Her series titled “Wahi” — short for Washington Heights —  diaries the vivacious poetic spirits of the busy district in ways which treasure the Old New York City aesthetic with a 21st Century twist. In conversation with the photographer , Twin discusses her inspirations and experiences throughout the process of the project. 

When did you first start shooting in New York? 

I moved to the city at the beginning of 2013 after graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2011. For the first two years I didn’t shoot much, I was constantly working 24/7 and if I had free time I spent it sleeping. I was also on an artist block, I wasn’t sure what to shoot. I came from an art background making abstract photography and films. To get myself unstuck, I started to shoot anything and everything.

What inspired you to start the “Wahi” series? 

Around 2015 I started to shoot regularly. At the time I didn’t have access to models so I decided to shoot outside in my neighbourhood. I am not the most extroverted person and having to go out to make pictures by approaching strangers was daunting to me. It was definitely a challenge. I slowly got more comfortable with it and found my flow. I got my hands on a Hasselblad Superwide C, which is a medium format camera with no viewfinder. It was fun experimenting with it and finding its sweet spot. It is a somewhat big and chrome camera. I liked shooting with it for this series because it attracts attention. It is also a conversation piece, people approach me asking me about it and allow me to take their portrait. 

How do you select your subjects? 

I walk up and down on St Nicholas Ave between 168th and 191st street, keeping myself open for opportunities. I am attracted by really interesting people, how they are dressed, how they walk, their  expressions etc. I also choose things that speak to the culture of the neighbourhood, such as the supermarkets, the crowded bus stops, the chairs, domino tables, and the empanada carts. 

What’s your favourite thing about Washington Heights?

My favorite thing about this neighbourhood is the people. I love being surrounded by other hispanics. Having lived away from my family for the past eight years, I like being reminded of my culture and roots. I like listening to the radio blasting salsa or reggaeton while walking to the supermarket. I like watching the intensity of people playing dominos. I love the sidewalk parties of people chilling on their lawn chairs, drinks in paper bags, puffing from hookahs and grilling up on barbecues.  I love the wafts of food smells, such as pernil, mofongo, empanadas, and asopao. It feels like home. 

What would you like people to take away from viewing this series?

I want these images to give the viewer a look inside this Old New York style neighbourhood. There really aren’t many places like this in the city. Majority of the city has been gentrified and franchised. I want them get an honest raw interpretation of this community.  I want them to be able to see how interesting and cool the neighbourhood is, to feel as if they were there. 

Can we expect to see more projects like this from you in the future?

Yes I will continue to document series like this one. I just wrapped up a series I shot near the Adirondacks in January of a Snowmobile drag race. I shot that one during an insane blizzard! I am also currently shooting a series at busy subway platforms like Times Square, documenting all types of people.

What’s next for you as a photographer? 

I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself. With each new series I try to do something I haven’t done before, be it a camera technique, lighting technique, shooting a specific way or subject matter. 

Where can one view more of your work?

Majority of my work is online. I have work published here on Twin (my Afropunk series), Document Journal, a couple of other indie magazines and my website. My Dependence series is published on issue 7 of Recens Paper, another of my favorite project. In the future, I aim to have a gallery show at a space in the neighbourhood. I want to give back to this community that has given me so much. 

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J Hammond Projects: “Fuck Paintings, Etc.” by Betty Tompkins

This week London based exhibition space J Hammond Projects presents the opening of their latest exhibition “Fuck Paintings, Etc” by pioneering feminist artist Betty Tompkins. The exhibition which opens today features a series of pornographic images aimed predominantly at men missing heads, hands and other identifiers until the work takes a form of abstractionism. The artist tells the stories of sexuality and desire from a female perspective, in attempt to break the monopoly of the male gaze. The  series will include a selection of ‘Fuck’ , ‘Cunt’ , ‘Pussy’ and ‘Dick Paintings’ which the artist has completed throughout the last decade along with four brand new text works from Tompkin’s “Insults/Laments” series. 

The “Insults/Laments” is a combination of the artist’s work featuring quotes of crude and degrading language directed at women. “I’m always moved by what I’m quoting, by including the words in my paintings, I’m showing respect for how women have survived these awful experiences,” stated Tompkins.  

The artist began her journey of making giant genitalia ‘Fuck Paintings’ over half a century ago and was presenting a body of work which had initially been rejected by all corners of the art world for its sensitive subject matter. As a result, despite a handful of group shows during the early 1970’s these  paintings have been ignored for the past three decades stored in the Tompkins’ New York studio until a solo exhibition in 2002 and her participation in La Biennale de Lyon the following year. The exhibition is set to run throughout March until April 13th. 

Betty Tompkins Who Will… Acrylic on canvas 2019
Betty Tompkins Cunt Painting 2017, Acrylic on Canvas

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Hen The Exhibition, by Bex Day

British fashion and documentary photographer Bex Day in collaboration with producer curator Sandrine Servent and artist publisher William Esdale have recently joined forces in the conception of a campaign which seeks to raise awareness and visibility of the UK’s older transgender community.  The campaign titled ‘Hen’ is an initiative Day has been working on for the past three years, that aims to promote a better understanding of integration in and outside the transgender community through an exhibition, film, talks and workshops. 

According to Day, “Hen is an anthropological study on gender fluidity and an exploration into the lasting impact societal restrictions concerning sexual identity and gender roles upon us. It examines how gender stereotypes have affected the older transgender community and questions how we define gender and if as a society we should, as well as exploring the inherent social and cultural problems within these alienating classifications.” The exhibition is set to display a series of 30 photographic portraits in various sizes and a newly commissioned film featuring subjects over the age of 40 which with successful funding, will take place in London at the Herrick Gallery during the first week of April following Trans Day of Visibility day on March 31st.

Unfortunately , the campaign is sans funding and is in attempt of seeking financial sponsors to cover the expenses of the panel discussion, transport and installation of the artwork, equipment for the three workshops among other costs. The workshops will be hosted by the charity Stonewall Housing with whom the exhibition has partnered with to ensure that 50% of prints sales goes to the organization as one of the UK’s LGBTQ+ and trans only supported accommodations. Twenty percent will also be contributed to partners Press For Change as one of the UK’s leading campaign groups in focus of the rights and treatment of transgender people. To donate, visit Hen The Exhibition, to learn how. 

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TO GO: Nights Global : The Female Experience Pop Up

Nights Global, a London based pop up cinema launched in 2015, for their first venture of the year will premiere an event which explores “The Female Experience.” Running from February 18th through 24th, the experience will be hosted in Brick Lane, Shoreditch and will include a series of seven events.

The first two days will feature workshop group discussions on topics such as Social Media Branding and Making Bold Decisions which will feature a panel of fashion stylist Nayaab Tania, Nail Artist Jess Young, Actress and Rapper Lauren Marshall.  The second workshop will discuss Time Management, Collaboration and Freelance with a cast of Net-a-Porter Stylist Audrey Mark, Filmmaker and Actress Thea Gajic, Co-Founder of Crownrose swimwear Nikky and Illustrator Olivia Twist. Over the course of these two days, this diverse panel of women are set to discuss some of the most pressing questions and issues facing females in the creative industries. 

The next following days (20th-24th) will feature a retails party where female products will be selling products. As well as film screenings which have been produced, directed and written by female creatives such as Thea Gajic, Runyararo Mapfumo, Rosie Matheson, Kaj Jefferies, Savvannah Leaf and Ella Bennett. For more information and ticket visit Nights Global.

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Gucci’s Chime For Change, “To Gather Together”

In 2013, the anomalous Italian fashion house Gucci launched their global initiative Chime For Change in aid of convening, uniting and strengthening the voices in defence of women and girls around the world. Co-founded by Beyoncé and Salma Hayek Pinault, the organization has  since then leaped forward in the world of humanitarianism through partnerships with organisations such as Global Citizen, Kering, UNICEF and Catapult with several projects in aim of broadening the conversation around the world.  

On their first venture for the new year, the Chime For Change organization has released their project titled “To Gather Together,”  which represents a global call to unite in support of gender equality. 

“With this next chapter of CHIME FOR CHANGE, Gucci is proud to reaffirm our commitment to a more just and equitable world. Achieving gender equality is critical to securing our collective future, and we are dedicated to leveraging our creative power, global employee engagement, and support for non-profit projects to ignite conversation and help empower the next generation of leaders,” said Gucci President and CEO Marco Bizzarri. 

For the project, the brand has teamed up with Italian visual artist MP5 who has created the new Chime For Change campaign imagery which has been revealed on Gucci’s ArtWalls in London, Milan, New York, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The imagery, which the organization describes as its new identity, features the silhouettes of unidentifiable human figures standing together in unison.  

“Every person is created equal. We all have the power to use our voices to stand up for what we believe in.  When we gather together across generations and communities, we have the opportunity to create real change.  The fearlessness of this generation to express themselves gives me hope that a future of freedom and equality is possible,” said Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele. In addition to the murals, Chime For Change has this week published the first issue of their CHIME [maga] Zine edited by activist and writer Adam Eli , including contributions from activists, artists and writers across the world. A digital version of the Zine will also be available on the organization’s new website at chime.gucci.com

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A deeper look(book): Isoscles, September 2018

Isoscles’ lookbook reads like an inverted case of sharking, caught on the streets of Rome. There is an invited gaze – the woman is aware of herself as much as her vision. It almost reads as chapter five of John Berger’s ways of seeing: the self-awareness women profess and express. At the back of the SS19 imagery her friend and collaborator Cara Sheffler explores an experience of being up-skirted in New York, and the sensations she went through, parallel to how others perceived the act.

Taking ownership of how we are presented and how we present ourselves — not just to others but to ourselves — in a way requires us to objectify ourselves. The female gaze needs to supersede the male. 

Isosceles is a brand launched by Cicely Travers after a life of obsession for underwear, looking to create a label that gives pleasure to women in their own bodies. 

Currently supported by the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN scheme and in her fourth season, Cicely is illuminating the new frontier more brands are exploring- what we wear closest to our skin and how that comes to shape how we feel about ourselves for ourselves. 

Utilising sheer mesh, bright colours and unique panelling, Isosceles pulls the eye to her garments, and in turn the body itself. Through these bold combinations, it does not shy away, but it also does not define: it merely enhances what was there – a spirit, a mentality, a personality, a woman. 

As Cara Sheffler concludes on upskirting herself in order to explore her body and personal perception of it, If that isn’t self-possession, I cannot tell you what is. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What made you begin your brand Isosceles?

I started making knickers after I dropped out of art school – it was the only thing I was really motivated to do. After completing a degree in contour fashion and having little success in getting to the kinds of jobs I wanted,  I went for an internship with Jean Yu in New York. I was so inspired her work: its exquisitely beautiful couture silk lingerie, and her refusal to compromise her aesthetic. It was a form of art. It took me five years after that to build up the courage to start my brand but it happened in the simplest of ways- I found this fantastic fluorescent stretch mesh in Shepherds Bush and played around with cutting shapes and wrapping the body. It went from there. 

What was the inspiration behind your last collection? 

I always look to vintage lingerie, and sportswear for inspiration: for my September 2018 collection this was mixed with clubwear and harlequins. I’m inspired by the fabric I’m using and a lot of ideas come from draping on the stand. I feel there are constraints as to how creative I can be with my brand because Isosceles Lingerie is functional as well as innovative. I strive to push the boundary into what lingerie can be whilst acknowledging that lingerie is something that has to support and should be harmonious or complementary to your outer wear. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What did you want to explore in your September 2018 look book imagery? 

The photographer Amy Gwatkin and I were inspired by the photographer Roy Stuart who takes soft porn pics of ladies semi-exposed in public: we wanted to play with those themes of exhibitionist and voyeur. We made an early decision that the subject should always look in control and was taking pleasure from flashing, thus subverting the male gaze. I always try to ensure that models don’t look submissive in my imagery. It was also a fun opportunity to show how lingerie can amplify the enjoyment of wearing clothes. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What does sexy mean to you? 

Pure, guiltless pleasure. 

Do you think attitudes towards lingerie are changing? Is it made for the female gaze as much as the male gaze? 

From my perspective, I don’t think wearing nice lingerie has very much to do with the male gaze at all. It’s about feeling good in your skin, in your clothes, feeling beautiful and cherishing your body by wearing beautiful fabrics and colours next to your skin. Wearing a bra that fits you and improves your shape, changes your posture, puts a spring in your step: I enjoy the playfulness of it. I think we need to embrace these pleasures and love our bodies more. I would like to put a little more seduction into the everyday. 

I’m seeing a lot of great women run lingerie brands that are making lingerie directed to the female gaze and changing attitudes about the importance of lingerie. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What do you want your audience to take away from your brand? 

That they could see themselves wearing it and having fun with the bright colours. I hope that people see it as a brand with a conscience. 

If your brand was a song/album/book/film, what would it be?

If it were a book it would be Don’t Cry by Mary Gaitskill. It’s a collection of her short stories, one of my favourites is called “A dream of men”. It’s funny and insightful: she is such a compassionate writer and I think it’s important to be compassionate as a designer especially in this day and age.
If it were an album it would be The B52’s album of the same name because its irreverent, funny, and great to dance to and it was made in the year I was born. 

Isosceles Lingerie

Can underwear be a bonding mechanism for women? 

To me, yes. For example it was fascinating to do the shoot with a totally female team. We had a lot of fun and a lot of great talks about the way we feel about our bodies. You realise that everyone has body hang-ups, even people who seem confident. We all have complicated relationships with our bodies:  its liberating to strip off and strip away the facade. 

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PH Museum 2018 Women Photographers Grant Winners

Earlier this year the PH Museum announced the opening of their second annual women’s photography grant. The aim of the project geared towards female and non-binary photographers was to empower women from all sectors of photography from all corners of the world, regardless of age, colour and orientation. Recently, after great deliberation, the organization announced the winners of their 2018 grant.  With a jury composed of Aïda Muluneh (Photographer, Filmmaker and Curator), Alessandra Sanguinetti (Photographer), Karen McQuaid (Senior Curator, The Photographers’ Gallery) and Pamela Chen (Creative Lead, Instagram), the PH Museum awarded the first prize to the project “You Don’t Look Native To Me” by Romanian-born German photography Maria  Sturm who took the prize of £5,000 in cash along with additional opportunities for exposure.  “From all the submissions , it was not difficult for us to be drawn to the work of Maria Strum, capturing Native American youth and exploring the notion of identity in the American landscape. One of the key factors for selecting her work was not only based on her technical skills, but on her approach in capturing images that offer the viewer as a sympathetic and non-cliched insight into her subjects. In essence, her collection offers us a glimpse into a long term project that portrays a community at the crossroads of the past and future,” explained Aïda Muluneh.  The second prize of £2,000 was assigned to the work of  Australian photographer Sinead Kennedy, entitled Set Fire to The Sea, which was a project exploring the Australian Government’s policy of mandatory and indefinite detention for asylum seekers.  The third prize of £1,000 was claimed by Turkish photographer Sabiha Çimen whose work “KKK (Quran School For Girls)” documented the daily life of girls in attempt to memorise and practice the Quran in Instanbul, Turkey. “Sabiha leads us into the life of rituals and quiet rebellion in a strictly religious girls’ boarding school with a classic and disarmingly poetic approach. She presents the girls with gentleness and empathy while managing to capture the tension between the girls childlike, awkward play and the intense adult rules, expectations and limitations that are upon them,” explains Alessandra Sanguinetti. Additional prizes were also awarded to photographers whose works were too good to go unnoticed in the forms of honourable mentions, mini grants, Vogue Italia features and an opportunity for exhibition.

1st Prize | You Don’t Look Native To Me by Maria Sturm
2nd Prize | To Set Fire To The Sea by Sinead Kennedy
3rd Prize | KKK (Quran School For Girls) by Sabiha Çimen

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Rinse, Repeat.

Richard Malone debuts his first exhibition at NOW Gallery on the Greenwich Peninsula this week. Inside the space Malone, a star of the London womenswear scene, will explore the relationship between fashion, art and movement. Visitors can experience and explore the designer’s processes and inspirations in the tactile installation.

From flicking through Malone’s sketchbooks and listening to transcripts from private appointments, to trying on clothes by the designer, the experience is one that will forge new creative bonds between visitors and the designer. Meanwhile large scale images will help to further immerse visitors inside Malone’s architectural and imaginative world.

Richard Malone’s exhibition ‘Rinse, Repeat’ will be at NOW Gallery for free from 28th November 2018 to 27th February 2019.

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“The Amount of Love You Have to Give is More Than I Can Stand.”

Phoebe Collings-James’ first solo show in Cologne opens today. The new exhibition at the Ginerva Gambino gallery presents three wall-size pieces that create an overall frame, with smaller drawings and paintings displayed in between these works.

“In most of Collings-James’ work, violence and beauty coincide.” The gallery says of the new exhibition, noting the complexities and nuances of Collings-James’ work that have seen her reputation skyrocket in recent years. The exhibition addresses dualities and contrasts – “feelings of familiarity and distance. This cacophony relates to her exploration of identity. Her personal (being a queer, British-Jamaican woman) and the historical – the present day and the ancestral.”

Since she graduated from Goldsmiths in London in 2009, Phoebe Collings-James has become one of the most exciting new voices on the scene. Now Brooklyn-based, the artists has had major shows in London, New York and Antwerp. With such a capacity to produce works that make an impression, that are both intense and delicate, it’s easy to see why. The new exhibition is on until the end of January.

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Her Stories 2018

Want to know how to annoy the establishment? Mess around with grammar. Her Stories decision to name the female artist contributors to that charity auction as womxn created a furore earlier this month. But this is a total Daily Mail-style distraction from the main issue – an auction, party and ongoing charity supporting women. The focus this year is those seeking asylum and refuge in UK.

‘Fresh Flowers’, Gabriele Beveridge, 2018, Courtesy of the artist

Their annual auction is killer – almost a who’s who of emerging British artists (who happy to be female and/or non binary) including Florence Peake, Phoebe Collings-James, Elouise Hawser, Juno Calypso, Maisie Cousins and Gabriele Beveridge – alongside more established iconic names like Linder and Polly Morgan. The works go on view November 8 at Protein Space and go up for sale on the 13th, but you can view and bid them all online here.

Fantasy 1, Florence Peake, 2018, Courtesy the artist and Bosse & Baum, London

For those who haven’t got the budget to shout for a piece by Faye Wei Wei or Marianne Spurr, but want to support providing vital, underfunded services for women, there is a party Friday night with Boiler Room with music curated by CAMPerVAN at Protein Studios. You can get tickets here.

Find out more at Her Stories.

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UNHCR & Giles Duley: The Refugee Women of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, violence against women has been particularly brutal since war broke in the Kasai region in March 2017.  Rape and sexual violence has continued to be used as weapons of war in a pool of conflict that has triggered internal displacement of some 1.4 million people — and the flight of over 35,00 refugees into Lunda Norte province in northeastern Angola. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) teamed up with renowned war photographer Giles Duley to tell the stories of the female survivors who have bore witnesses to these crimes in a photography series to pay tribute to their strength.  For more stories and information on how to help, visit UNHCR.

“To be honest, I am not that strong. I lost everything. I am not sure how to carry on.”

Sylvie Kapenga, 26, from Tchissengue feels broken by the violence she witnessed when armed groups attacked her fellow villagers, killing and raping indiscriminately. She has four children and says life in Lóvua settlement, Angola is tough with little food or clothes to give them. 

“They pointed a gun at my husband, but we managed to escape with our two children.”

Some of 42-year-old Bernardete Tchanda’s friends were raped and killed when armed men attacked Kamako, Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the past she has suffered domestic violence. She says she feels protected in the UNHCR settlement in Lóvua, Angola. 

“As a refugee it is harder as a woman, we have the responsibility for food and the children. But here the women have given me inspiration.”

Ani Tcheba, 19, fled her village on a Monday morning at 6am, heavily pregnant and helped along by her husband. In Lóvua settlement, Angola she says the women share food and other essentials, and help each other with the hardships. 

“They killed my uncle and his sons. We couldn’t even bury them. Sometimes I am very sad at all we have lost. Other times we let it go, we have our lives. I am never tired. I am so strong, my body is always moving, ready to work.”

Mimi Misenga, 45, escaped barefoot into the bush from Kamako, Democratic Republic of the Congo to Lóvua settlement, Angola. She says armed men forced her neighbour to rape his own daughter. 

“The militia would go to a house and I would see them carry out the woman. I knew what they were doing. I lived in fear.”

Chantal Kutumbuka, 45, fled the town of Kamako in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when armed militia men killed her husband. She abandoned all she owned and crossed the border to Lóvua settlement in Angola.

“I thought they would kill the baby inside me, that’s where I found my strength.”

Thérese Mandaka, 19, has not seen her husband since she fled across the border from Kamako in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Lóvua settlement, Angola. When the soldiers came he was out looking for work while Thérese was at home, pregnant and sick. He has not seen their child, Munduko, who is now four months old. 

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