Pay Attention

By Audrey Annastasya

The creative world is changing. And it wants you to pay attention. Within the creative realms, we are thankfully seeing more expansive works from underrepresented communities. For example, we are now seeing a much broader set of voices from people of colour, non-able-bodied people, LGBTQ creators and more women artists. Find out more in Pay Attention.

Sarah Lucas, Yellow Chair Hair, 2022 

Highlighting marginalized artists means bringing different voices to the table, different perspectives that otherwise would not have been heard. The world is opening up and bringing new perspectives for us to explore understand or even just simply relate to. They also speak to the specific communities they represent, and for many, this is a first. Women, for example, have been fighting for equal rights and equality across creative life for many years, so it’s always great to see women supporting other women in this field. We know it usually takes ideas and promotions from within a community to get to be seen. Artist Sarah Lucas has done just that.

In the artist’s Big Women exhibition in the Firstsite Gallery, Lucas made it a priority to highlight women. This was Lucas’ way of creating a safe space for women artists to thrive in an industry that otherwise has made it easy for women to stay invisible. By doing so she brings to the forefront voices that may well be missed or heard less.

Firstsite, Colchester, Essex. Photograph by Jayne Lloyd.

By opening our world to global creatives, we are also opening ourselves to new perspectives, because art connects us. Here, we have compiled a list of artists that can be seen at the new exhibition.

Sarah Lucas

Sarah Lucas, Fat Smile, 2022. © Sarah Lucas

Sarah Lucas is an English visual artist who emerged during the 1990s and is part of the generation of Young British Artists. Lucas’ works usually employ visual puns and risqué humour by combining photography, collage, and other found objects. “[Big Women] aspires to be thought-provoking, creative, and fun,” says Lucas about her most recent exhibition, Big Women. Curated by Lucas, this exhibition features 21 women artists and is a celebration of women’s achievements in the creative field.

Georgina Starr, The History of Sculpture (Splitzing), 2013 © Georgina Starr, courtesy The Artist

Lucas’s Big Women exhibition showcases work by leading female artists including: Renata Adela, Erica Åkerlund, Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press, Kate Boxer, Yoko Brown, Angela Bulloch, Phillipa Clayden, Sonia Coode-Adams, Vanessa Fristedt, Maggi Hambling, Pam Hogg, Rachel Howard, Merilyn Humphreys, Patricia Jordan, Princess Julia, Abigail Lane, Tory Lawrence, Millie Laws, Polly Morgan, Clare Palmier, Georgina Starr, Milly Thompson, Gillian Wearing, Sue Webster, and Lucas herself.

Renata Adela 

Renata Adela, Origin of The World – We’re All Space Sailors, 2023 © Renata Adela, courtesy The Artist.

Renata Adela is a mixed-media artist based in Suffolk. She works in all kinds of media, including etching, embroidery, pastels, and oils. Adela’s works have been exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and Spazio Arte, a gallery on the Grand Canal near the Guggenheim. Adela’s pieces are also currently being exhibited at Lucas’ Big Women exhibition.

Renata Adela, Lilith I – Hammerhead Venus, 2018 © Renata Adela, courtesy The Artist.

Angela Bulloch 

Angela Bulloch, Heavy Metal Stack Fat Beige Three, 2017 ©Angela Bulloch, courtesy Simon Lee

Angela Bulloch is a Berlin-based Canadian artist that often works with sound and installations. Bulloch’s works explore her interest in patterns, rules, and systems. Similar to Lucas, Bulloch was also part of the Young British Artists who emerged in the 1990s. You can find Bulloch’s works at Lucas’ Big Women exhibition, as well. 

Fiona Banner

Fiona Banner, also known as The Vanity Press, is a British artist that focuses on sculpture, drawing, installation, and text. Banner is known for her early works in the form of “wordscapes”, which are written transcriptions of the frame-by-frame action in Hollywood war films, such as Top Gun and Apocalypse Now. Banner’s works have been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and Hayward Gallery in London. Banner’s works are also currently being exhibited in Lucas’ Big Women exhibition. 

Yasmine Diaz 

Yasmine Diaz is a multimedia artist based in Los Angeles. Raised by Yemeni parents in Chicago, Diaz’s art explores the tensions of religion, gender, and culture. Some of Diaz’s pieces are part of LACMA’s permanent collection. Her most recent works include an immersive installation, mixed media collage, and fibre etching combining visuals from her personal archives and other found imagery. 

Hein Koh

Hein Koh is a Brooklyn-based visual artist with a current focus on sculptures. Koh’s works are uniquely psychedelic, yet pretty with loud, splashy, and exuberant colour schemes. Her pieces are humorous and satirical, critiquing many aspects of everyday life from family to gender biases. Koh’s most recent solo exhibition was held in Athens, Greece and showcased her collection of humanized-broccoli illustrations.  

Alex McQuilkin 

Alex McQuilkin explores female identity in Western culture through various lenses. She is best known for her videos where she usually plays the starring role. Besides videography, McQuilkin also creates printed art, with a pastel colour palette and a hyper-feminine aesthetic. Her most recent solo exhibition was held in Los Angeles, California, titled, “Use What You Have To Make What You Need.”

There are also so many opportunities and organizations giving spaces for diverse communities in the creative space. Recently, the BFI Southbank hosted a short film competition created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) and Audi with the aim of finding diverse voices in film. 

If you enjoyed Pay Attention then why not read Fashion’s Future, Future’s Fashion.

For more opportunities to see filmmakers and other creatives in action, visit the BFI Southbank for various film screenings. 

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