Women Hold Up Half The Sky press release

For immediate use: 11 May 2018 

Pankhurst in the Park celebrates Ekua Bayunu’s “Women Hold up Half the Sky”

Pankhurst in the Park is proud to present this year’s artist in residence Ekua Bayunu’s “Women Hold up Half the Sky”, an interdisciplinary project taking place over eight weeks between April 14th and June 9th. This is an invitation to join us on the final date, when we will take the opportunity to celebrate the project and what it’s participants have produced in Alexandra Park. There will be music, spoken words, exhibitions, a sculpture trail, art workshops, and a closing party at the Pavilion Café.

2018 marks both the centenary of women (over thirty) winning the right to vote in England and the third and final year of the Pankhurst in the Park program. We commemorate this historic achievement and reflect on the ongoing issues with the political agency and representation of women today. One of the ways we have responded to this is by using this project as a platform to showcase the wealth and talent that female artists, in Manchester and internationally, have to offer.

Ekua’s proposal led to her being awarded the artist in residence commission by a selection panel of eminent figures within the Manchester art community, among them John McGrath, director of the Manchester International Festival and Helen Wewiora of the Castlefield Gallery. Other commissioned local artists include Anna FC Smith and Tasha Whittle.

Of being awarded this position in the project, Ekua said this:

I was thrilled to hear I had won the residency. It means so much to me to be able to work with Alexandra Arts, with all their passion and creative energy AND it means so much to me to be able to bring the local communities that I cherish, into this creative enterprise.

In between the opening and closing dates of “Women Hold up Half the Sky”, Ekua will be coordinating local community engagement and off-sight female artist studio initiatives in the form of a series of meetings and workshops. Ekua’s project is run in association with Global Arts Manchester, a group she co-founded.

Alexandra Arts teamed up with NYC-based publication 511 Magazine to produce a special edition for this year’s Pankhurst in the Park, published on March 8th, International Women’s Day. It includes an article on Ekua’s work by NYC-based artist Katie Cercone. It also features art, prints, and articles by a number of other artists who are contributing this year including Anna FC Smith, Tasha Whittle, Go! Push Pops (2014’s artist in residence), Marilyn Minter, Melanie Banajo, NARCISSISTER and much more. Printed copies are available at all our events and as a free download.

Find out more at www.alexandra-arts.org.uk.

ENDS

Comments, photos, and interviews are available. Please contact Lotte Karlsen by phone on +44 (0)7816683171 or email press@alexandra-arts.org.uk.

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Message from AIR Ekua Bayunu - please share

Hello Park People!

I am just coming to the end of the third official week (of 8) as artist in residence at Alexandra Park! #womenholduphalfthesky

I am immersed in planning the final event on the 9th June. ( and making sculpture, running workshops, interviewing women on video....). I'm having a Walk the Park session on Sunday 13th May to help interested people understand the 9th June and how they might contribute, meeting at Coffee Cranks at 11am. Maybe you fancy coming down and finding out more about it then and understanding it in the context of the whole event? 

Here's some opportunities I’m offering local people, including you and your teams, to get involved in. 

In the Lodge, I will have a small exhibition in the 'conference room', themed around 'Our Mothers' , I will present a cabinet of items, made, found, owned by our mothers or about our mothers. If you have a small thing you could contribute, I’d love to talk to you about it. 

 Sound Artist , Danielle Porter will be making a sound scape of sounds from the park to play alongside the cabinet. She will be popping in to introduce herself this week and talk about how she would like to capture the sounds of your locations within the park.

Interviews. I’ve just completed 10 interviews with a very varied group of women in the Lodge. In the Sky Women’s studio, throughout May, I will continue to interview women about their feelings about voting and other ways we can shape our worlds. Email me for the address if you would like to join us there. We will also be making the sculpture there for Baby Sculpture Play area and the Woodland Walk.

Art Workshops are happening in the park, in the Community Room in The Depot at the bottom of Russell Street on Thursday 3rd May, 17th May and 24th May. 11.30 - 2.30pm.

I am currently looking for acoustic musicians and spoken word artists to perform. I know many of you are multi talented and if you'd enjoy sharing these skills with others in the park on the 9th June, please let me know and please share this invitation across your networks.

Heres some blurb I've put together....

~Womenholduphalfthesky is the name of my residency in Alexandra Arts as part of the Pankhurst in the Park 2018 programme initaited by Alexandra Arts.

The residency launched officially on the 14th April with the support of Global Arts Manchester and will conclude with an interactive celebration event in the park on the 9th June..

The theme of the residency has been an exploration of and a celebration of women taking an active role in shaping our communities, from the home, to the local , national and international.

I would really like to involve as many people as possible in the park on that day.

There will be  exhibition spaces, temporary sculpture in the woodland walk, an acoustic music space, a spoken word space, a planted installation , a baby sculpture play area, workshops......maybe even a table tennis tournament!!!

The idea is for as many creative people as possible living near or with a relationship with the park to come along and participate.

Hope this gives everybody a good insight into some of the things that are happening? Do let me have any questions about the event or any other areas of the residency.

Much Love,

Ekua

EMINENT DOMAIN press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Scotto Mycklebust, 917 697-0844, scotto@scottomycklebust.com; Gia Portfolio, 201 248-6756, gia.portfolio@gmail.com

ART511MAG EMINENT DOMAIN EXHIBITION

OPEN CALL FOR INTERSECTIONAL FEMINIST ART

(New York, NY, April 24, 2018) - ART511 Magazine is presenting EMINENT DOMAIN: a 3-day Flash Art Exhibition in the former Robert Miller space in West Chelsea. The exhibition is a curated selection of radical feminist art by female artists, eco-femmes, ghetto brujas, elders, queer/trans artists and other magical gender nomads reclaiming their rightful space in the Art World. The flash exhibition will occur July 12-14, 2018. 

Addressing the white male western canon’s discourse drawing from, exploiting, misrepresenting and objectifying female bodies and the racial/sexual Other, EMINENT DOMAIN occupies a major white box space in the heart of the commercial art world with a militantly utopic “flash flood” of new media, live performance and traditional visual art of every size and stripe, washing away old, derogative archetypes to tell another story about Art, ritual, community and the divine feminine mysteries.

EMINENT DOMAIN opens July 12th for 3 days in Chelsea, concluding with a Women In the Arts Panel comprised of a diverse cross-section of female thought leaders in the International Art World playing the fluid roles of curator, organizer/activist, gallerist, artist and arts administrator.

EMINENT DOMAIN was an impulse seeded by ART511 Magazine’s recent partnership with the Manchester, UK-based Alexandra Arts collective. This Spring, ART511 Magazine and Alexandra Arts teamed up to produce a limited edition 74-page, full-color print commission celebrating International Women’s Day and the centenary for UK women's suffrage (funded by ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND) for the 2018 Pankhurst in the Park season.

The edition is available as a free download online here

EMINENT DOMAIN flash exhibition will be presented Thursday, July 12, 2018: Opening Reception 6-8 p.m. & after Art party from 8-10 p.m. The exhibition will be open to the public Thursday, Friday & Saturday, July 12-14, from 10-6 p.m. ART511 Magazine will host a moderated panel discussion “Women in the Arts” in the afternoon on Saturday, July 14, 2018. 

Artists interested in being considered for this show can submit work or proposals for performance online at ART511MAG.com/submissions.  

We are seeking video, installation, new and mixed media as well as painting and sculptural objects, performance, music, spoken word and new genre time-based pieces. 

*Artists are required to provide all tech for video and multimedia works

See the open call hereSUBMIT work for the exhibition @ ART511MAG.com/submissions 

Deadline to Apply: May 24, 2018

For more info contact scotto@scottomycklebust.com

EMINENT_DOMAIN_POSTER

OPEN CALL FOR INTERSECTIONAL FEMINIST ART

EMINENT DOMAIN: A Flash Art Exhibition in the former Robert Miller space in West Chelsea is a curated selection of radical feminist art by female artists, eco-femmes, ghetto brujas, elders, queer/trans artists and other magical gender nomads reclaiming their rightful space in the Art World. We can unpack Feminism here and define it, as critical theorist and activist bell hooks does - “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression” - at the roots of which is gender stereotypes and narratives perpetuated by heteronormative white male capitalist patriarchy, not men themselves. Based on the logic that the white male western canon has always revolved around a discourse drawing from, exploiting, misrepresenting and objectifying female bodies and the racial/sexual Other, EMINENT DOMAIN seizes a white box space in the heart of the commercial art world for a militantly utopic “flash flood” of new media, live performance action and artworks of every size and stripe that explode the old derogative archetypes and tell another story about Art, ritual, community and the divine feminine mysteries. Intersectional, post-colonial, queer, social-justice oriented and community-minded works of Art from folks that defy the status quo and get knee-deep in the paradigm shift will overwhelm the space and stake ground for new dialogue, new ideals and new marketplace tactics. Visionary video, installation, new and mixed media as well as painting and sculptural objects will snake through the gallery space animated by the din of performance, music, spoken word and new genre time-based pieces.  A handful of the contemporary art world’s key non-profit organizations will join us to present what they do and how you can get involved.

Marilyn Minter

EMINENT DOMAIN was an impulse seeded by Art 511 Mag’s recent partnership with the Manchester, UK-based Alexandra Arts collective. This Spring, Art 511 Mag and Alexandra Arts teamed up to produce a limited edition 74 page full-color print commission celebrating International Women’s Day and the centenary for UK women's suffrage (funded by ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND) for the 2018 Pankhurst in the Park season. The edition, available as a free download online here, features critical essays, interviews and artworks by notoriously brilliant siren radicals such as Marilyn Minter, Narcissister, Melanie Bonajo, Samantha Conlon (Bunny Collective), Go! Push Pops and Ekua Bayunu among others. Included in this curated selection is film stills from the infamous performance artist Narcissister’s first original feature film Organ Player, which reflects on the personal impact of her mother’s illness and death, also a 2018 selection at the Sundance Film Festival. Marilyn Minter’s bush painting gracing the back cover is part of a series partially inspired by a set of photos which were the result of a 2014 photography commission Minter attempted to complete for Playboy magazine. Minter’s editorial was rejected by Playboy for its depiction of women’s pubic hair au natural, and later became a book and subject of the paintings included in our special women’s issue. Meanwhile a narrative photo essay by Bunny Collective director Samantha Conlon explores the relationship between illness, the medical industrial complex and women’s agency.

As Alexandra Arts director Lotte Karlsen and Amy Clancy outline in the forward: “The art world still bows to a model created by white European men. The top three museums in the world, the British Museum, the Louvre, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art have never had female directors. Female artists earn less on average than their male counterparts and make up a fraction of the work in permanent exhibitions and auction market. It’s not enough to be good at their game or even the best; it’s rigged. So, it’s time to devise our own, not just for and by women, but in collaboration with all those whose voices, opportunities and rights are stifled.” In this spirit, EMINENT DOMAIN is a guerrilla exhibition mounted in the global art epicenter of the world which boldly carries the torch for alternative models promoting the power, equality, magic, pleasure, creative self-expression and financial freedom of women, people of color, and gender non-conformers. 

EMINENT DOMAIN opens July 12th in Chelsea followed by a Women In the Arts Panel comprised of a diverse cross-section of female thought leaders in the International Art World playing the fluid roles of curator, organizer/activist, gallerist, artist and arts administrator.

Download full ART 511 Alexandra Arts Commission here

SUBMIT work for the exhibition here

Women Hold Up Half the Sky: A Look at British Artist Ekua Bayunu

Today, April 14th, 2018, marks the launch of the 8-week interdisciplinary, community-oriented project “Women Hold up Half the Sky” led by Ekua Bayunu, this year’s Artist in Residence (AIR) for Alexandra Arts’ “Pankhurst in the Park”. In connection with the launch our partner Art511 Magazine have published on their site an article about Ekua's life and work by NYC based artist Katie Cercone. Alexandra Arts commissioned this for the Pankhurst in the Park centenary edition of Art511 Mag, which is available at our events and as a free download here

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Ekua Bayunu just finished mounting her first solo exhibition at Manchester’s Chuck Gallery. Aptly titled Re:Birth, her show centers around a body of sculptural work reflecting women’s power and draws on aesthetic motifs of her African cultural heritage. After receiving a few rave reviews of her show, she was selected in February to be artist-in-residence in Alexandra Park for the final season of Alexandra Arts’ Pankhurst in the Park Program. Recently, I had the opportunity to connect with the artist personally and dive more deeply into her background and the motivations behind her trans-disciplinary, social-justice oriented creative practice - Katie Cercone 

Read the whole article here

AIR Ekua's full event schedule

April 14th, 2018, marks the launch of the 8-week interdisciplinary project “Women Hold up Half the Sky” led by AIR Ekua. Bayunu will be running community-oriented sessions in the park and an offsite female artist studio initiative. On June 9th, 2018, you are invited to a celebrate the AIR showcase event, hosting happenings all around the park, culminating in a closing party at the Pavilion café. All in association with the Global Arts Manchester.

If you are a female artist and are interested in taking part in the 'Women Hold Up Half The Sky' Studio, then contact Global Arts Manchester on ga.mcr@outlook.com

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Tasha Whittle Commission Announcement

Alexandra Arts are thrilled to announce that interdisciplinary Manchester artist Tasha Whittle will be joining us as a commissioned artist for 2018’s Pankhurst in the Park project.

Tasha Whittle has built a reputation in the Manchester art scene as the founder of Outhouse, an Outdoor Project Space for Public Art, which operates primarily in the city’s Northern Quarter. She is a visual artist and has created the installation of murals, pop up artist shop SWAG, handcrafted homewares, jewellery and clothing, interactive pieces both alone and collaboratively. In Australia she ran an art gallery and studio space in the heart of Melbourne’s creative quarter. Tasha has worked as a VJ and a promoter in the local DIY punk scene of Norfolk before moving to Manchester. 

Whittle’s contribution to the Pankhurst in the Park initiative will involve a visual-sonic performance, performed on “Glyn”, a handmade analogue synthesiser constructed with her collaborative partner Darren Adcock. Together the pair work under as ‘Coatic Sequence’ and currently utilise drawing to manipulate the sound from Glyn. Though many elements are yet to be decided (and this is an openness and element of surprise we heartily welcome!), she will perform with Glyn to manipulate vocals, collaborate with other musicians and possibly even the audience themselves, not to mention the manipulation of sound through the live production of images. It will be a spectacle at once highly technical, whilst also being very physical, dynamic and organic.

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Speaking to Tasha, her commitment to music is expressed with such passion it is moving to hear. "I find solace in art and salvation in music" she claims.  It is only recently, however that she has "felt confidence to present this publicly". This shift she attributes partly to the influence of female artist and musician friends in Manchester and Melbourne who have inspired her.  "It's fun to make sounds and work out how something is created" in her collaborative work in Coatic Sequence both members contributions are of equal value and significance. "I'm enjoying including sound into my practice"

Whittle is drawn to the Pankhurst in the Park project in part because of its celebration of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, though she notes women’s struggles with inequality and oppression still persist today.

“The older I get the more I see the inequality of the systems around us, it frustrates me. I am so thankful to all the women before me who fought and pulled women up to the platform where we currently stand. I want to become a part of that climb, to raise ourselves up further than the sky.”

It is a perspective that binds itself well with the ultimate goal of Pankhurst in the Park, to tackle the lack of representation of women in the art world itself by taking an opportunity to joyously celebrate the talent and ingenuity local female artists have to offer.

See Tasha's Artist profile in our centenary edition of NYC based Art 511 Mag here

Anna FC Smith's “One Pace-Egg of yours is All We Want”

Alexandra Arts are excited to announce that Wigan art star Anna FC Smith has been commissioned to contribute to this year’s Pankhurst in the Park project. Anna will be running workshops locally throughout April and May, centring around eggs, protest, carnival, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. In July, a new body of work drawing from these themes and the contributions of participants will be presented in West Chelsea, New York premier art district.

The significance of eggs is grounded in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Smith draws from an often-overlooked method of protest by these groups – the pelting of eggs and flour on public officials and buildings. Egg throwing, Smith argues, has long been a form of carnivalesque transgression. As well as a symbol of sabotage and mayhem, eggs also evoke fertility, new life, the domestic and the everyday.

Alexandra Arts and Anna FC Smith invite you to mark the historic achievements of the Suffrage Movement on this significant anniversary by reflecting on the methods of protest used by these activists, to have fun and ‘turn the world upside down’. Join us in Manley Park on May 7th, at Whalley Range’s very own Celebrate Festival, between noon and 6pm. Anna ‘s research led commission includes sessions with Alexandra Arts partners and park stakeholders.

In light of the centenary of women’s suffrage and Alexandra Arts transatlantic exchange with NYC based Art 511 Mag, Anna was commissioned to write a piece titled ‘The ritualistic heritage of the suffragettes’ - this was initiated by the Pankhurst in the Park Programme, whose community locus is the same Alexandra Park where many of the suffragettes’s organising and protesting took hold. Adjacent infamous suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst’s residence.

Alexandra Arts Pankhurst in the Park Programme champions women’s continuous creativity, radical acts of rebellion and inversion of the status quo through their organisational support of the socially engaged work of contemporary female artists working within and around the park.

Read and download Anna’s piece here

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Congratulations to Moss Side artist Ekua Bayunu

2018 marks the centenary of women’s right to the vote. Today, Alexandra Arts’ Pankhurst in the Park, is proud to honour this historically significant moment by announcing that the position of Artist in Residence for Pankhurst in the Park, 2018, has been awarded to local artist Ekua Bayunu, who will be taking up residence at Alexandra Park between the 14th April and the 9th June.

April 14th, 2018, will mark the launch of the 8-week interdisciplinary, community-oriented project “Women Hold up Half the Sky”, led by Ekua Bayunu, this year’s Artist in Residence (AIR) for Alexandra Arts’ “Pankhurst in the Park”. An introductory artist-led talk will be held with Bayuna, who will be speaking at the Alexandra Park Pavilion at 2pm. Followed by a women's artists space session, organised in association with the Global Arts Manchester, a group co-founded by Bayunu to ‘encourage people to participate in the visual arts and learn more about diversity.’

The 8-week project will incorporate elements of sculpture and film, and will include the participation of a diverse range of members of the local community; who can get involved with workshops held at Alexandra Park’s Chorlton Lodge and Depot. Dates will be listed shortly.

On June 9th, 2018, to celebrate the close of Ekua Bayunu’s 8-week AIR project, “Women Hold up Half the Sky”, you are invited to participate in a day of events presenting and reflecting on the work. The celebration will host happenings all around the park, all culminating in a closing party at the Pavilion café.

The project draws from a central theme of the Pankhurst in the Park project, the legacy of the suffrage movement and the special significance of Alexandra Park in this history. Emmeline Pankhurst lived just on the borders of the park and 2018 marks not only the centenary of the right of women (over 30) to vote. It will also be a hundred and ten years since thousands of suffragettes marched in Alexandra Park.

Bayuna’s work will expand beyond local concerns to build on the themes of global women’s leadership and consider culture, the arts and creativity as tools for active citizenship of central significance.

Already with significant experience as an artist, Bayunu moved to Manchester in 1993 and has since then produced several high-profile works around the city (“Sensory Garden” in Hulme Park, “Anansi Mosaics” at Royce Primary School), worked in outreach support at Manchester’s Contact Theatre between 2001 and 2006, worked from her studio at Artwork Atelier in Salford, and organised exhibitions celebrating Black History Month in collaboration with Global Arts Manchester in 2017. Ekua started 2018 with her solo exhibition titled “Re:Birth” at Manchester’s Chuck Gallery. She has lived and worked as an artist and tutor with a keen sense of community participation for several decades.

 Follow Ekua @ekuabay & @globalartsmcr #WomenHoldUpHalfTheSky

Image credit - Rod Leon

Happy International Womens Day

Happy International Women’s day and HELLO Pankhurst in the Park centenary magazine edition!

For Pankhurst in the Park 2018 we have teamed up with online publication and NYC based Art 511 Mag and commissioned a limited edition printed copy of the mag.

Curated between Alexandra Arts and Art 511 Mag, this special print edition features a host of inspirational contributors to whom we owe huge debt of thanks – Scotto Mycklebust, Katie Cerone, Gia Portfolio, Christopher Booth, Pablo Melchor, Marilyn Minter, Anna FC Smith, Melanie Bonajo, Go Push Pops, Laura Weyl , ULTRACULTURAL OTHERS, Samantha Conlon/ Bunny Collective, High Prieztezz or Nah, Sol Kjøk, Claire Zakiewicz, Ekua Bayunu, Elisa Garcia de la Huerta, Lauren Velvick, Hannah Leighton Boyce, Ruth Barker, Castlefield Gallery, Helen Wewoira, Naomi Kashiwagi, NARCISSISTER and Tasha Whittle.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are heading down to the exhibition launch for Hannah Leighton Boyce and Ruth Barker at the Castlefield Gallery. To find out more about the artists’ research, and their residencies with Glasgow Women’s Library and the University of Salford. For the Art 511 Mag centenary edition we commissioned local artist and writer Lauren Velvick to write about the exhibition. Inside you will also find an interview of Helen Wewoira, Director of Castlefield Gallery.

Download it here or flick through the online copy below.

Pankhurst in the Park 2018 returns to Manchester’s ‘People’s Park’

ANNOUNCEMENT

Alexandra Arts is delighted to announce that we have been awarded funding to host the third and final Pankhurst in the Park.

Pankhurst in the Park 2018 will be a free public arts programme based in the ‘People’s Park’ celebrating Manchester’s role in the suffrage movement and providing a platform for artists, community collaboration and international exchange.

Highlights:

·         2018 is a symbolic year: is it the centenary year of women (over 30) winning the right to vote, and 110 years after Alexandra Park hosted the ‘Great Demonstration’ on 24th October 1908, which saw thousands of Suffragists march to the Park for a political rally.

·         ‘Pankhurst in the Park’ (PitP) 2018 is for everyone: it will include a funded Artist Residency for a Greater Manchester based artist; free outdoor exhibitions in Alexandra Park; centenary inspired commissions from local artists; a trans Atlantic special edition magazine, and a collaboration with Manchester's Celebrate Festival.

·         Partnership events in New York Cityand an integrated education programme with St Mary's CE Primary School, Moss Side will accompany the programme.

·         Alexandra Park is Victorian, Grade 2-listed Park, which sits on the border between the communities of Whalley Range and Moss Side, only yards from where the iconic leader of the Suffrage movement, Emmeline Pankhurst, was born and bred.

·         The PitP 2018 artist in residence (AiR) will be based at the park and their work will seek to engage and inspire visitors and local communities with its significant historical role in the suffrage movement.

·         The AiR selection panel includes: John Mcgrath, Director of Manchester International Festival, Helen Wewiora, Director of Castlefield, local artist and creative producer Naomi Kashiwagi, NYC based artist and publisher Scotto Mycklebust and Lead Artist Lotte Karlsen

·         On 8th March (international women’s day), we will launch the special print edition of New York magazine Art 511 dedicated to Pankhurst in the Park will also be published - celebrating 100 years of women artists pushing boundaries.

·         ­­Pankhurst in the Park 2018 is funded by: Arts Council England, Whalley Range neighbourhood investment fund, Manchester City Council department of culture, St. Mary’s CE Primary School, in Moss Side, and Friends of Alexandra Park.

Curator of Pankhurst in the Park, Lotte Karlsen said:

“Pankhurst in the Park aims to empower the local communities around Alexandra Park through engagement with their local environment and social history, and to promote the wealth of talented female artists in Manchester and beyond by providing a platform for their work. We are thrilled that Arts Council England and Manchester City Council have re­cognised the value of the work we are doing, and have granted funding for the third and final Pankhurst in the Park programme.”

Curated by the Manchester-based, artist collective, Alexandra ArtsPankhurst in the Park is inspired by the Grade 2 listed, Alexandra Park’s rich historical connection to the Suffrage Movement, whose iconic leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, was born and bred yards from the Park in the neighbouring Moss Side Estate.

Pankhurst in the Park aims to empower the local communities around Alexandra Park through engagement with their local environment and social history, and to promote the wealth of talented artists in Manchester and beyond by providing a platform for their work.

Part 1 will comprise of three main events in Alexandra Park, Manchester including a unique collaboration with the Caribbean Carnival, in August. Part 2 will see the project renew ties with NYC, in September 2018.

The 2018 programme builds on the success of Pankhurst in the Park2016 and 2014/15, which has to date commissioned a total of 52 artists, received international press coverage and engaged diverse audiences with Moss Side and Whalley Range’s rich heritage.

 

For further information please email: press@alexandra-arts.org.uk,

 

Art 511 Mag

10 Organisations Helping Artists build Community

Alexandra Arts is named by Art 511 Mag as one of '10 Organisations helping Artists build community' with Ultracultural Others, Minnesota street projects, Beat Global, Culture Push + others. We are truly humbled, to be connected to so many forward thinking creatives who are smashing up the conventional mould of 'community arts'. We are also the only organisation outside the US on the list! Read the full article here

In addition to their dynamic offerings in the park, Alexandra Arts is perhaps best know for its (international) artist residency program Pankhurst in the Park. Inspired largely by the legacy of the suffragette activism that took place in Alexandra Park and named for iconic movement leader Emmeline Pankhurst.
— Art 511 Mag

'Sound of Silence' exhibition review 

Radical artist and feminist writer Katie Cercone did a shimmering review of Alexandra Arts lead Artist Lotte Karlsen's solo exhibition 'Sound of Silence' in New York, last September. It's now available to view at Art 511 Mag

In a highly competitive and commercialized industry like art, where working together or calling yourself “feminist” isn’t always a safe or lucrative career move, Karlsen’s insistence on following through with her total vision for integration of self and community feels all encompassing in her radically interdisciplinary work. Her dexterity with the medium of glass and subtle meditation on the nature of life and death promises to shine through in this kinetic, effervescent installation for many moons
— Katie Cercone, Art 511 Mag

Arts Award

Pankhurst in the Park Arts Award 2016-17

It took us a whole year to complete our Pankhurst in the Park Arts Award pilot, with students from year 4-6 at St Mary’s Primary school in Moss Side. Although It took much longer then anticipated, It’s been so worth it tho, because of our young student artist. Who designed and made some really funny, cool and poignant t-shirts. We also found time to laugh, dance and write poetry. 

If the mind is a key,
to all of creation.
It can destroy or heat,
by input of information.
What control do we have?
Plotting our life’s direction...
It is a simple changing,
Our belief and intention.
— Poem by Manal, year 6

On the day, they left school for summer holidays, we had the Arts Award certificate ceremony. We are so proud of their creative achievements and wish them all the best. 

Pankhurst in the Park NYC

New photo album up!

Alexandra Arts founder Lotte Karlsen is back from a successful solo exhibition in New York! What a great way to end Pankhurst in the Park 2016. Lotte was invited by fellow Norwegian/US artist Scotto Mycklebust to be the first in a Visiting Artist series, at studio 511, in collaboration with West Chelsea Artists Open Studios. Non of this would have been possible without the help and support of radical artist and feminist writer Katie Cercone, co-founder of Go Push Pops. Karlsen also stayed at artist live/work space, called the Mothership in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, run by Norwegian artist Sol Kjok. Sol have the most amazing studio and performance space down the road called The Last Frontiers. And we are already plotting a upcoming collaboration for Pankhurst in the Park 2018. 

Bunny Collective in International New York Times

This years, Pankhurst in the Park Artist in residency Bunny Collective is making waves in the art world, with a full page interview by Ginanne Brownell Mitic in the International New York Times. In connection with their Frieze art fair edition. Both in print and online. We could not be happier for them!

Lotte Karlsen solo exhibition 'Sound of Silence' in New York

Press Release

Shimmering Sound of Silence travels across the Atlantic

On Thursday 8 September, Norwegian Artist, Lotte Karlsen will officially open her solo exhibition 'Sound of Silence' in West Chelsea Art studios, New York City, as the final installment of an arts programme connecting female artists across the Atlantic.

Highlights:

  • Manchester (UK) based collective, Alexandra Arts, celebrates the final installment of Pankhurst in the Park 2016 arts programme in New York City.
  • The solo show entitled 'Sound of Silence' will showcase a glass installation  - by Norwegian artist, Lotte Karlsen.
  • The pop-up exhibition will launch on Thursday 8 September 6-8pm at Studio 511, West Chelsea Arts Building, West 26th St. New York, NY, and runs until 24 September.
  • The exhibition will be housed inside a small white cube nestled inside artist Scotto Mycklebust's studio - executive producer of the Public Art Squad Project. Visitors will have exclusive access to this private artist studio, which is based in the heart of West Chelsea's Arts district.
  • Sarah Gavron, director of award-winning 2015 film, Suffragette, was one of several female artists to have taken part in the Pankhurst in the Park programme, which has also involved New York artists collectives Go! Push Pops and Legacy Fatale.

With an exhibition housed inside a white cube entitled ‘Sound of Silence’, Lotte Karlsen returns to her specialist medium of glass for what will be her first solo show in New York, to create a site specific work which explores and deals with her relationship to her own mortality.

Lotte Karlsen, Artist, founder of Alexandra Arts and curator of Pankhurst in the Park, commented:

“For this final installment of Pankhurst in the Park 2016 in New York City, I’m delighted to have my work showcased in the heart of the west side of Chelsea; NYC’s premier contemporary-art district.

 'Sound of Silence' is an opportunity for me to return to the beginning of my career and specialist medium - glass - which I feel best reflects the fragility of the subject matter. I felt it was time for me to delve deeper and create work that deals with some of the more difficult and darker aspects of my life but through a medium that quite literally shines a light on the more positive outcomes.

Curated by the Manchester-based, artist-led collective, Alexandra Arts, Pankhurst in the Park 2016 is inspired by Alexandra Park - a Victorian Park in Manchester - and it’s rich historical connection to the Suffrage Movement, whose iconic leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, was born and bred yards from the Park in the neighbouring Moss Side Estate.

This exhibition, Sound of Silence, marks the end of the Pankhurst in the Park 2016 programme, which aims to empower the local communities around Alexandra Park and beyond through engagement with their local environment and social history, and to promote the wealth of talented female artists in Manchester and beyond by providing a platform for their work.

'Sound of Silence' represents a collaboration with Lotte Karlsen, West Chelsea artist Scotto Mycklebust, and artist and feminist writer Katie Cercone, co-founder of NYC radical artist duo Go! Push Pops. Go! Push Pops were artists in residence for Pankhurst in the Park 2014.

'Sound of Silence' will celebrate its opening on Thursday the 8th of September, from 6-8pm, with a public launch and drinks reception. The exhibition is free and open to the public from 8th - 24th September 2016. Opening times are 12-6pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and 6-8pm on Thursdays.  In conjunction with the exhibition, on Thursday the 22nd of September, a new online-based magazine, called ART 511, will also be launched.

For more information, visit: www.alexandra-arts.org.uk.

ENDS

For further information, images and interviews please contact:

Amy Clancy

press@alexandra-arts.org.uk | www.alexandra-arts.org.uk | @AlexArtsMCR   #pankhurstinthepark   

 NOTES TO EDITORS

 Lotte Karlsen

Lotte Karlsen FRSA, born 1974 in Hammerfest, Norway is a multidisciplinary artist working fluidly across the boundaries of fine art, social practice, sculpture and craft. Currently living and working in Manchester, UK. Karlsen earned an early degree in glass blowing from the world renowned Kosta Glass School in Sweden's Crystal Kingdom. Later obtaining an MA in Art as Environment at Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD), her work in recent years has blurred the lines of conceptualism, artivism and craft. She has exhibited her work in London, Milan, Tokyo, Seoul, Barcelona, Paris, New York and throughout Scandinavia.

http://www.synchronizedliquid.com/#lotte-karlsen

West Chelsea Artist Studios

'Sound of Silence' will be exhibited inside a small white cube inside artist Scotto Mycklebust's studio, which is located in West Chelsea Artist studio complex in New York. The building houses galleries, multiple artists and art dealers, and resides close to the far west side of Chelsea — the city of New York's premier contemporary-art district — which is home to high-profile spaces including Gagosian Gallery and Gladstone Gallery.

http://westchelseaartists.com/

Alexandra Arts

Founded in 2010 by Norwegian Artist, Lotte Karlsen, Alexandra Arts is an artist-led collective based in Manchester's Alexandra Park. The collective aims to empower the local community around the park through engagement with their local environment and social history, and to promote the wealth of talented female artists in Manchester, and beyond, by providing a platform for their work. In 2014, Alexandra Arts established Pankhurst in the Park to highlight Alexandra Park’s rich historical connection to the Suffrage Movement and its inspiring socio-political heritage, which has until now has left no trace locally. 

Pankhurst in the Park 2016

Pankhurst in the Park 2016 is an Arts Council England and Manchester City Council funded, public programme of artist commissions, an international artist in residency and outreach and educational programme, which took place in Manchester from March – May, 2016 and will arrive in New York between August - September, 2016.

Curated by the Manchester-based, artist-led collective, Alexandra Arts, Pankhurst in the Park is inspired by Alexandra Park’s rich historical connection to the Suffrage Movement, whose iconic leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, was born and bred only yards from the Park in the neighbouring Moss Side estate. The 2016 programme, builds on the hugely successful events of 2014/15.

http://www.alexandra-arts.org.uk/pankhurst-in-the-park/

OPEN CALL FOR RADICAL CREATIVES!

Our New York sitas Go Push Pop has started a micro-residency and we would like to give their open call a massive shout out. Please share the Urban Mystery Skool love....

Ultracultural Others

ULTRACULTURAL OTHERS: Urban Mystery Skool

A micro-residency and wellness Immersive in NYC Hosted by High Prieztezz Or Nah & UNDAKOVA w/ Go! Push Pops & Rotating Guest Faculty A MYSTICAL SELF-STUDY AND WELLNESS IMMERSIVE FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY CREATIVES, POST-STUDIO ARTISTS, YUNG SHAMANS, URBAN MONKS, QUEERS, BUDDHA BITCHES, PUNK/ECO/HIP HOP FEMINISTS, RAP NINJAS AND RADICAL OTHERS. LIVE AND LEARN IN MANHATTAN'S LES FOR 1 MONTH. EMBARK ON A PERSONALIZED MYSTICAL COURSE OF SELF-STUDY WORKING SIDE BY SIDE WITH SOME OF NEW YORK CITY'S MOST RADICAL CREATIVES. A BORROWED BIKE, FREE ADMISSION TO BI-MONTHLY WELLNESS EVENTS, SACRED GATHERINGS AND A CSA FARM SHARE ARE JUST SOME OF THE ADDITIONAL PERKS.
Application is LIVE!

http://ultraculturalothers.ontrapages.com/

Email ultraculturalothers@gmail.com for more details

Deadline: Ongoing

SOCIAL MEDIA

Instragram @ultraculturalothers

Facebook @ultraculturalothers

Twitter @ultraculturalX

 

Essay: What we are doing by Kathryn O’ Regan

‘Startling unexpectedness is inherent in all beginnings’:

On Bunny Collective’s What we are doing       

In the prologue of The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt boldly states:

What I propose in the following is a reconsideration of the human condition from the vantage point of our newest experiences and our most recent fears…What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing.[1]

From this statement, Bunny Collective borrowed the title for their most recent exhibition held in the woodland of Alexandra Park on Saturday May 7 2016. What we are doing was the culmination of the collective’s two month residency as part of Alexandra Art’s Pankhurst in the Park programme and it took the form of a site-specific temporary exhibition held in collaboration with students from the Manchester School of Architecture. From the very outset, What we are doing was based on ideas of combined action and ephemerality, both of which are central to Arendt’s claims.

 Where Bunny Collective’s previous exhibitions, most notably The Young-Girl’s Gaze at SOMA Contemporary, Waterford and SUGAR at TACTIC, Cork, primarily dealt with notions of technology, identity, feminine experience and the digital sphere, What we are doing sought to grapple with broader concerns anchored on Arendt’s distinction between labour and work. Due to the rich industrial history of the city, Bunny Collective wished to tap into ideas related to work, but with an aim to consider what constitutes ‘work’ in the first place: how work can be something other than waged exertion to produce profits or the manufacturing of commodities.

 In The Human Condition, Arendt proposes that there are three forms of activity fundamental to the ‘human condition’: labour, work, and action. For Arendt, labour corresponds to the biological life of man as an animal, work corresponds to the artificial world of objects made by human beings, and lastly action relates to the human condition of plurality. Central to these claims is the labour-work divide whereby labour involves the necessary tasks undertaken by human beings in every aspect of their existence. Where the acts of labour do not leave behind a physical trace and are characterised by their momentary nature, work involves ‘making’ and pivots on the production of tangible objects, which are defined by their permanence and durability.

 Hidden just off the cherry-blossom lined pathway, What we are doing unfolded in a shady woodland clearing. Set-up and displayed over the duration of one day, in its very essence the exhibition corresponded with Arendt’s theory as it was an act of labour in itself: almost as soon as the exhibition was set up, it was dismantled again, leaving behind no physical evidence that an exhibition had taken place here. In this regard, What we are doing felt like a brief but powerful intervention into the daily life of the park. On a regular summer Saturday, while families picnicked, friends lazed on the lawn and teams played cricket in their dazzling whites, What we are doing took over a little patch of the park but with an equally thoughtful and playful sense of purpose.

 This sense of mischievous subversion was pervasive in both the architecture students’ designs and the artwork on display. For example, Hannah Le Feuvre’s and Carmen Hubbard’s piece is part of a larger project titled Secret Branch, which involves designing and creating  wearable art objects during their lunch breaks whilst at work at a large London art gallery. The motive of the project is to challenge the daily routine and boredom of paid employment and particularly, to persist in making art when your waged role is to silently invigilate it. The piece itself consisted of a white-painted branch with a length of a thin white cloth attached. From here, cryptic symbols were appliquéd onto the cloth and multicoloured strands of braided material were tied to the branch and left to fall freely. Within the exhibition, La Feurve’s and Hubbard’s piece operated as a type of makeshift banner -   a triumphant flag promoting a flight of transgressive fancy in the face of gruelling monotony and commerce.

 Sasha Cresdee’s work ‘Potential Completion, Temporal Fulfilment’ performed a similar function in that her knotty webs of rainbow yarn transformed the surrounding woodland into a spectacular otherworld. Previously, Cresdee has spoken about how these woollen nets resemble skin in that they are simultaneously porous and protective. This reading of the work adds another dimension to their effectiveness as art objects as it compels the viewer to be more sensitive to the fragility and tactility of their making. Despite their dreamy purple-pink ombre, these knitted structures are strangely bodily in the way that they twist and turn around branches and snake onto the grass in a tangled cascade. Furthermore, in presenting knitted chains in a collaborative exhibition, Cresdee’s work becomes the physical manifestation of connection and togetherness. Of course, not only do her knitted structures present a permanent object in terms of Arendt’s ‘work’ - although it could be said that they are unravelling with time - the use of textiles in both this work and in La Feuvre’s and Hubbard’s is significant also considering Manchester’s remarkable history as a manufacturer of textiles (particularly cotton) from the time of the Industrial Revolution up until the 1950s.

If Cresdee’s work is precariously situated between permanence and slow disintegration, Riikke Enne’s text sculpture ‘Devouring Tools’ presented an equally curious dichotomy. Planted in the hard soil, the words ‘USE THIS’ were just about visible in the afternoon sun. Enne’s sculpture was made of metal rods continuously welded, melted down and twisted together - a process that is exceptionally hard on the required equipment. In its solid, metal physicality the sculpture was simultaneously present as an object of ‘making’ in the Arendtian sense, and oddly invisible - merely a thin metallic structure only seen on catching the light. Indeed, it could be said that ‘Devouring Tools’ is a work of playful juxtaposition, not least in how the phrase itself implores you to use what should be a fairly useless art object, particularly one that is made of such spiky and uninviting materials. However, in a peculiar turn of events, the work instigated unexpected involvement from the audience: letters were rearranged and shuffled, accidentally stood and stamped on, and by the close of day, one of the letters had even been pocketed.  

Where Enne’s work engaged with concepts of materiality, production and utility respectively, meanwhile, Saffa Khan’s installation, ‘Tumhari Dua/She prays' quietly explored one’s personal relationship with ritual and devotion. In a concealed corner, decorated with glowing blue lanterns strung from the trees by the MSA students, the work consisted of a pale pink canvas repeatedly printed with the artist’s silhouette, propped upon an embroidered, bright blue Muslim prayer mat. The installation included a number of objects associated with the Muslim prayer ritual of Nimaaz, including a tasbi (prayer beads), a type of alarm clock that summons a call to prayer, and a Namaz topi ( an Islamic skull cap). Nimaaz is a demanding process that requires the devoted to pray five times a day if possible, despite time or location restrictions. In using her own photographic image, Khan appears to be working through her relationship with these arduous requirements and what she herself terms the ‘spiritual labour’ of Nimaaz. Strikingly, the photographs printed on the canvas were taken unbeknownst to the artist - whilst she was praying she had her camera switched on.  This personal fact adds another level to the work: by sheer accident this private and humble act was captured and solidified into a photographic image.

Arguably, Camilla Frankl-Slater’s work ‘100 knives’ is in dialogue with Khan’s work as her piece explores notions of religion and the everyday too. Rather than Muslim ritual, Frankl-Slater’s work is a reflection on the Judaic tradition of Neitzah, which is an ancient ritual involving thrusting a knife into the earth ten times over in order to purify it. Nowadays, the ritual is enacted less frequently due to the widespread availability of chemical cleaning products, yet Neitzah is still carried out during the festival of Pesach (Passover) when Jews temporarily follow stricter dietary laws and are especially attentive to the sanitary conditions of their cutlery. ‘100 knives’ is less a commentary on religious ritual as it as it is about ‘women’s work’ so to speak. In many faiths, much of the preparation prior to a religious celebration is carried out by women, predominantly in the kitchen. According to the artist, the title is also a play on her mother saying that she has a ‘one hundred things to do’. In this sense, ‘100 knives’ is a clever and subtle reminder of the labour-intensive, yet often thankless and easily forgotten work undertaken by women in their homes. Furthermore, there is a certain violence, or rather aggression in sticking 100 knives into the earth and in this regard, Frankl-Slater’s piece is visually arresting, serving to preserve what should be a fleeting act. As the knives shimmer in the sunlight, reflecting the green of the woodland foliage, they become literal ‘blades of grass’.

In continuing this theme of overlooked aspects of domestic labour, Samantha Conlon presented a number of photographs of her young nieces in a series titled Copper Beech - the title of which is borrowed from a local housing estate. The photographs were blown-up and printed on PVC banners, hung from the trees and held taut by bungee cords pegged into the ground.  One of these photographs depicted two blonde-haired girls of about seven or eight, dressed in casual sportswear with one girl standing over a pink Little Mermaid-emblazoned bicycle. The girls look boldly out at the camera; their stern facial expressions in sharp contrast to their angelic features. Another image portrayed a little blonde girl sitting cross-legged on a footpath with an empty McDonald’s cup beside her. Against a redbrick building, she looks away from the camera, poised in deep thought. In general, Conlon’s work focuses on the modest and minor details of growing-up. For example, her previous series Daughters took a close look at the intimate and tender moments between mother and daughter. Similarly, Copper Beech concerns observation, recording the little moments of growing up within a typical Irish working-class family. Yet, in capturing her subjects on grey pavement or particularly against red brick, which features heavily in Manchester’s architectural make-up, Conlon’s photographs could just as easily be of typical youngsters in Manchester or elsewhere. At their core, Conlon’s images are about ‘the everyday’: what it means to grow up within uniform estates and the ways in which residents try to work through that sameness. Her work succeeds as she unexpectedly presents her nieces, as young as they may be, as powerful individuals in their own right, bestowed with rich interior lives beyond their years. Arguably, Conlon’s photographs tie in with Arendt’s belief in the significance of the individual within the collective: how each individual has the capacity to exercise their own agency and the possibility to disrupt the status quo.

 In an astonishing coincidence, the Little Mermaid as featured in Conlon’s photograph was the subject of Charlotte Cullen’s and Eleanor Cully’s performance piece entitled ‘Siren’s Song’. At 4pm, a group gathered in the woodland glade to hear Cullen read excerpts from their texts interspersed with quotations from texts by Sylvia Plath, Sara Ahmed and most notably, from Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. Cullen’s spoken performance was accompanied at regular intervals by Cully’s haunting flute song and was a perfect example of the type of transient collaboration that defined this exhibition. In choosing to use extracts from Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, ‘Siren’s Song’ became a vulnerable exploration of pain, fantasy, risk and the suffering of the human body.  For example, to take one excerpt from The Little Mermaid as read by Cullen:

Your tail will then disappear, and you will feel great pain, as if a sword were passing through you. But all who see you will say that you are the prettiest little human being they ever saw. You will still have the same floating gracefulness of movement, and no dancer will ever tread so lightly; but at every step you take it will feel as if you were treading upon sharp knives, and that the blood must flow.

 Of course, the mention of knives in this quote ties in with Frankl-Slater’s ‘100 knives’ and we are reminded once again of a sort of covert violence. In this work, violence translates into a meditation on the pressure and stress that we put our frail and imperfect bodies under in order to achieve states of unattainable perfection, and ultimately, how we are united by the fragility and limitations of our bodies: ‘Bleeding feet will bond us’.

 In essence, The Human Condition champions new ways of looking at the world. It is about the human capacity to begin, change and start over again. Aoife O’ Dwyer’s twirling reflective mobile titled ‘125%’ invited viewers to take a closer look at their surroundings by presenting photographs of their immediate environment in a 360 degree panoramic layout. The opposite side of the photographs were covered in mirrored paper to give a distorted impression of the same space but from the opposite side. Resourcefully supported by a bright pink hoola-hoop, the work, much like Enne’s, triggered extraordinary levels of interaction from the audience, quite unlike what would have occurred should the piece had been installed in a typical gallery setting. Without a moment’s pause, onlookers - adults and children alike - brazenly stuck their head under the mobile to get a closer look at the wood in which they stood in. The images themselves were grainy and magnified, speckled with whimsical pink dots like flyaway balloons or a punkish paint splatter here and there. Once again, ‘125%’ was a bid for careful and attentive viewing, encouraging viewers to observe and experience their world from multiple sides and perspectives. In this capacity, ‘125%’ was a work of great wonder, instigating both collaborative interaction and individual engagement – with every gentle swivel of the mobile, the viewer was permitted to see the space afresh. As Margaret Canovan writes in her introduction to The Human Condition:

Only the experience of sharing a common human world with others who look at it from different perspectives can enable us to see reality in the round and to develop a shared common sense.[2]

In the end, this is how we can think of What we are doing also: as a vehicle to bring people together; to unite different perspectives and ways of living; to look closer and better at this crazy, troubling and changing world; and lastly to think to oneself that new ways of being and experiencing are infinitely and always possible.

-       Kathryn O’ Regan is a writer and curator based in Cork, Ireland. She has assisted Bunny Collective in the curation of their exhibitions, The Young-Girl’s Gaze, SUGAR and What we are doing and has written accompanying essays for each of these shows.  Her work can be found on kathrynoregan.wordpress.com

[1] Hannah Arendt, ‘Prologue’, The Human Condition, The University of Chicago Press, 1958, 5.

[2] Margaret Canovan, ‘Introduction’, in Arendt, The Human Condition, University of Chicago Press, 1998, xni.

Bunny Collective artist portraits

The Bunny Collective was Alexandra Arts' International Artist in Residence, during the 'Pankhurst in the Park' 2016 Spring programme.

In connection with their residency we have made a video artist portrait of the collective. In fact we did two, because we did not want you to miss out on getting to know the bunnies better, hearing about their artist in residency experience and their time in Manchester. Enjoy!

Lasso of Truth NYC

Pop Amazon's Legacy Fatale Leads The March during NYC 21st Suffragette Festival

Pankhurst in the Park 2016 - Legacy Fatale commission ‘Lasso of Truth’ was performed at Grace Exhibition Centre in Brooklyn, 7th May 2016, the same day as our Alexandra Park Spring Showdown. Katie Cercone was there, writing for Whitehot Magazine, read the review here

To kick off the event at Grace Space May 7th, modern-day Amazons Legacy Fatale and company will begin with a spirited march from Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick to Grace Exhibition Space. Recently back from Manchester, while in the UK the group performed a new work celebrating suffragette herstory for Alexandra Arts’s annual Wonder Woman festival. The Wonder Woman festival is part of the larger, comprehensive initiative of Manchester-based artist Lotte Karlsen to enact community art in Alexandra Park, turf upon which the suffragettes led some of their very first riots and rallies. Legacy Fatale will continue this thread in their work for the NYC-based sister project 21st Suffragettes. 
— Katie Cercone, WhiteHot Magazine