I am sitting in my office, in the middle of a spread of about thirty pieces of art that I've made over the past two years. More of them sit in folders around the walls. It's a strange feeling to see the progression in my work -- from initial collage pieces to mixed media canvases and paintings and to think that, after all this hard work behind closed doors, I now have to select a handful for my first exhibition.
I'm very proud to have been selected as one of this year's emerging artists to be displayed at the 2014 Heaton Arts Festival, that takes place this 12th-28th September. Along with a number of amazing and inspiring new Newcastle-based artists, my work will be on show at The Hub, 136 -170 Shields Road, Byker, for the period of the festival.
It's a wonderful experience for someone like myself with no formal art education training, as the opportunity also comes with some mentoring. Most of all, however, I'm looking forward to engaging with people around my work, and seeing if it does, as I hope, stimulate some questions or discussions around the media's portrayals of women and our inner worlds.
This may be why I keep changing my mind about which pieces to include in the exhibition! It’s quite a shift to go from privately working on the images, to thinking about what and how to show them to others. My work has been important to me because it has been part of a very private process of exploring my own relationship with notions of beauty and ideal femininity. I’ve learned a lot about my own inner narratives about what it means to be female in the contemporary world. To now exhibit this work feels like a very exposing thing to do. But I hope it will start up a dialogue, and I am so excited to see how people react, and to learn from those reactions.