Born to suffer the weight of men, 2015 - by Jade Montserrat

New exhibition at Phoenix Art Space asks, Are You A Woman in Authority?

Curated by Broken Grey Wires, Broken Grey Wires and Phoenix Art Space present an exhibition of work by artists who explore empowerment, gender, and community in their practice. Open Sat 30 Sept – Sun 19 Nov (Weds– Sun) at Phoenix Art Space, Are You A Woman in Authority? communicates the powerful rhetoric behind key social issues: mental illness, class struggles, race, queerness and feminist discourse, and how these intersect.

How much does identity, gender, sexual preference and disability impact our opportunities in society? Do women, or those identifying as non-binary need to work harder to be successful?

These questions preoccupy the curatorial vision behind Are You A Woman in Authority? with works by leading artists, including Sarah Lucas, Jade Montserrat, Zanele Muholi and 2018 Turner Prize winner Charlotte Prodger.

The exhibition also sees the second iteration of the Mad Manual Toolkit and The Comfort Zone. Featuring photography, interactive installation, video and painting, the exhibition works resonate with the personal mental health experiences of Brady herself, having founded Broken Grey Wires in 2016 after a period of continued mental health crisis. Rooted in the lived experience of illness, the Mad Manual Toolkit gives audiences the autonomy to explore the exhibition in their own way, with a range of suggested activities, themed around writing, drawing, mindfulness and movement.

If I loved you it was because of your hair. Now that you are without hair, I don’t love you anymore – by Sarah Maple

Red, yellow and green badges accompany the toolkit to encourage or discourage approaches to visitors by gallery staff, creating a safer environment to experience the artwork. The Comfort Zone is a space where people can reflect on the exhibition, rest, read zines, drink tea or simply lie on the sofas with a blanket. 

“The Are You A Woman in Authority? project has been a much quicker process, from my initial ideas to reality,” says Lizz Brady, curator and Director of Broken Grey Wires. “That burning desire to create a space for people to interact, to relax, to learn and to connect, has increased. 

“Because it is vital to explore these issues, it is vital to communicate our fragile emotions and to develop opportunities for communities to relate to one another. I hope that by building this vulnerable, strange, joyful, precious, somewhat broken space, I can convey the power of conversation, of sharing and how healing it can be when we can relate to others.”

Throughout the term of the exhibition there will be a programme of artist residencies, talks and a family focused workshop, including collaborations with Outside In and Brighton’s Women Centre.

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