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Work / Art

BAME and female artist programme The Laundry’s taboo-conquering new exhibition

Georgina Johnson is a force to be reckoned with. Aged just 24, she has a creative empire bubbling beneath her fingertips. After establishing contemporary womenswear brand Laundry Service, Georgina set about looking beyond fashion to art more generally, and so The Laundry was born, which Georgina describes as “an arts curation and collaboration programme by and for women and BAME creative practitioners.”

Following multi-sensory exhibition Memories back in August, the second exhibition from The Laundry team is titled Cunt. Scratch the surface of the provocative title though, and Cunt has powerful, sensitive intentions, excavating the history and semantics of the word “Cunt”. “_Cunt_ will inform and educate visitors around subjects like fertility and infertility, mental health and gynaecology, being comfortable in your own skin and so much more,” say The Laundry. “Conquering taboos that have no reason to be taboos in the first place.”

Cunt is curated by Georgina, supported by Bbyface and Depop, and features the work of artists from around the world: Johnson herself, artist Ahaad Almoudi from Saudi Arabia, Tel Aviv-based photographer Dafy Hagai, bio-hacking designer Giulia Tomasello from Italy, painter Jameson and illustrator Sophie Rawlingson, both UK-based.

Cunt will run until 28 October at KK Outlet Shoreditch. In the exhibition’s last few days, we asked creative director Georgina for a tour of the work on show.

Sophie Rawlingson

What Sophie has been able to do so well in her work is make subjects completely relatable. Though this particular work is grounded in her own feelings surrounding her experience, she poses a question that opens the piece up entirely. What’s interesting about the figure she illustrates are the layers she builds which are representative of the characters’ or her own mood, mental state but also attitude towards the discourse surrounding women. Undoubtedly pointing out the disproportionate attention certain issues such as contraception and mental health, are given in comparison to others. When in the grand scheme of things they aren’t nearly as important as your physical and mental health.

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Sophie Rawlingson

Dafy Hagai

I enjoy the pace of Dafy’s work. She often remarks on how important her books are to her and that they are her “art” and so takes her time to produce them. This image is a precursor to the fourth book she is currently working on. While speaking to me about the image she noted that the sitter has chosen to commit to an ‘uber slut’ persona. The person in this image has taken on ambiguous presentation, though understands that this lends itself to assumption around their experience and has chosen to own that. Which we found interesting in connection to the word “cunt”, the projects theme, because of their own reframing of an often negative word. Which brings to light the spectrum of words used to discuss, write, understand and link sexual experience and gender presentation.

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Dafy Hagai

Jameson

Jameson’s work is pretty refreshing because of their vulnerability and raw workings. You feel the rubbing of oil on the unstretched canvas as your eyes run across it. You’re tempted to touch it because not only is it full of obvious emotion, it’s full of depth. The colours they use are also just really vivid and fun and are contrasted with the message at play in the work. Themes of Identity, Conception and belonging are integrated through their poetry and use of illustrative character.

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Jameson

Giulia Tomasello and Ahaad Almoudi

This work has a multitude of layers to it. Firstly the pomegranates themselves are a note on the symbolic character of pomegranates in art and Culture. The pomegranate was used in some cases as a symbol for fertility and abundance in painting and interestingly in Saudi culture men sang to pomegranates when courting women. For the artists also, a pomegranate metaphysically represents an actual cunt – it bleeds, it has uncountable seeds, it’s acidic, it’s edible.

The wall piece embodies the diversity in the physicality of cunt’s. Interestingly when they are pierced entering the wall the colour they bleed varies depending on their maturity, this colour also changes over a course of time. For the artists this explains the difference physically between women, their cycles and fluids. Ahaad Alamoudi, using archived video material, comments on cunt’s both cultural and social contexts in her film piece. Exploring the words departure from something sacred to something profane, to garner our understanding of the word in society today!

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Giulia Tomasello