Reading Group 3: ‘Solidarity is a Doing Word’, Lola Olufemi and Monica Sjöö

Reading Group 3: ‘Solidarity is a Doing Word’, Lola Olufemi and Monica Sjöö

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Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall

22 Newport Street


SE11 6AY

United Kingdom

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Reading Group 3: ‘Solidarity is a Doing Word’, Lola Olufemi’s Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power and Monica Sjöö.

About this event

‘Solidarity is hard to define. In the simplest terms, it can range from: working across difference, standing together in the face of shared oppression and standing alongside those with whom you do not share a common experience of the world. It’s a slippery concept, it moves about, it unites and divides the movements we are part of’.

Lola Olufemi, Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power, 2020.

In this workshop, we’ll collectively read and discuss the final chapter in Lola Olufemi’s 2020 text Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power, ‘Solidarity is a Doing Word’. International feminism was a key tenet of Sjoo's art, but it seems important to dig into the ‘mess of solidarity’ as Olufemi puts it, to digest Sjöö’s work in a contemporary intersectional lens.

Sjöö painted figures such as Angela Davis, as well as using imagery of African and Indian goddesses in her paintings, so this leaves questions about appropriation in her work. Ideas around global sisterhood and internationalism permeate throughout her practice, undeniably in a well-meaning register, yet it seems necessary to digest the nuances of this message in the contemporary.

In our discussion we’ll unpack the role of solidarity as an activist strategy. How can we support an international feminism, whilst recognising the inherent differences of womxn across our planet?

What happens when we start to think through feminism in perhaps a post-national, as opposed to an international lens?

The Monica Sjöö Reading Group Series is programmed by emergent curator and researcher Fran Painter-Fleming who has been invited to bring the perspectives of a younger generation into juxtaposition with the issue-based work of Monica Sjöö and its interpretation by an older generation of ‘Third Wave’ feminists. Sjöö's imagery represents both the civil rights achievements of ‘Second Wave’ feminism and a vision for alternative futures. Painter-Fleming was struck by the urgency of Sjöö’s work in the context of current debates surrounding the climate crisis, queer rights and contemporary feminisms..

Image: Monica Sjöö, After Oppression Revolution, 1968.

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