Damn, how did I not know about this before? A collection of 38 postcards, celebrating modern feminism and created by both artists and those famed in different fields including music and science, were auctioned at the Aubin gallery in London earlier this year, to raise funds for Feminism in London, a grass-roots networking and campaigning organisation based in the capital.
The Guardian recently put online a photo gallery of some of the postcards included in the exhibition and auction …
… and, as original artworks and images of contemporary feminism go, they’re a varied bunch. In addition, what is also notable about the postcards is that a number of the artists who contributed their artworks were men who identify themselves as feminist. Good times.
Contributors included singer Kate Nash, comedian Jo Brand (one of my all-time favourites), and psychotherapist and author Susie Orbach. Gerald Laing, the British pop artist, came up with a cryptic montage showing a beehived Amy Winehouse wielding a vacuum cleaner and a bin bag, whilst others were more direct – such as Julian Opie’s postcard, which showed a pared-down, computer-generated figure of a naked woman with her fist raised in a gesture of power, or perhaps even defiance.
David Rusbatch created a thought-provoking postcard of three images – a Frida Kahlo portrait to represent Rusbatch’s idea of ‘pre-feminism,’ an image of Germaine Greer to represent ‘feminism’ and a pornographic image of a woman covered in semen as the third image, captioned ‘post-feminism.’ These images might only be on one side of a postcard, but they’re powerful.
Sarah Maple, the artist who put together the collection, reportedly said:
‘We’ve had an amazing variety of responses. The plan was to have a range, men and women, and of all ages [sic], from students to someone like Gerald Laing, who’s in his 70s. And I think we’ve achieved that.’
The brief Maple gave to her high-profile contributors was solely ‘Create a work about feminism on one side of a postcard.’ This is a very wide brief to set, but one that has clearly made way for a diverse and interesting collection of work that explores the many and varying aspects of contemporary feminism in the UK. The postcards provide a physical manifestation of what someone in the UK in 2010 believes about feminism. And that, frankly, is something that I like very much.