Su Richardson’s dungarees have their pockets stuffed with all the tools from the kitchen to the garden, for every role a mother has to fulfil, Gina Birch’s three-minute film of continuous screaming is a cathartic emotional outlet. Jill Posener’s photographs are of defaced advertisements that were targeted for displaying casual, and in some cases outright, sexism, and Rose Finn-Kelcey’s snap of two versions of herself talking to each other on a park bench remarks on how women are pressured to appear as two separate selves in private and public.
The art here also takes shots at both ends of the political spectrum as works reflect on Margaret Thatcher becoming prime minister, which meant a woman held the highest office in the land and yet women were still discriminated against, while Alexis Hunter’s self-explanatorily titled artwork The Marxist’s Wife (still does the housework) has images of her hand cleaning a picture of Karl Marx.
Importantly, the exhibition also covers the separate but overlapping struggle for women of colour in Britain with Marlene Smith’s powerful tribute to Cherry Groce – a Black woman who was shot on her doorstep by police, plus Sutapa Biswas’ housewives with steak knives, which depicts the artist as the Hindu deity Kali – holding a decapitated head in her hand.
The show also tackles how feminism is reflected in the works of disabled artists and those from the LGBT+ community – notably in Rosy Martin’s work where she wraps herself in all the slurs that have been directed at her.
This is a dense exhibition that will reward repeat visits as it’s rightly heavy going, and there is a lot of work packed into a show that could easily fill several hours to take it all in.
Women in Revolt contains works that will resonate with any woman who’s been made to feel uncomfortable around men, which is likely all women. There’s, unfortunately, a trend of men not visiting exhibitions about female artists, but this is one they should. It’s art that draws attention to what women in Britain have put up with and what they continue to put up with. It makes it clear why they are right to be angry in a patriarchal society and the powerful strides for equality they have made in the last 50 years. It’s a must-see for everyone, irrespective of gender.
|What||Women In Revolt!, Tate Britain, review|
|Where||Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Pimlico (underground)|
08 Nov 23 – 07 Apr 24, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|