Leigh Ann is a member of The Shared Collective and comments here about her experience of working on an Art of Curation project with curator Anna Douglas to create the exhibition Backbone at Arcadia Gallery (2-10 November 2018). We will share blogs from the other members of The Shared Collective in the next couple of days until the exhibition finishes on Saturday.
Shirley Baker captured more than the static image of the older women she photographed. She managed to convey the essence of these women through her work. In doing so she inspired each of us to enter into a conversation with them, with ourselves and with each other about what it means to be an older woman. While working together, under the guidance of our inspirational curator, Anna Douglas, we found ourselves on a mission to give voice and story to the individual women whose photographs we had each chosen to work with. The women in these images had somehow reached out and ‘spoken’ to each of us. And we responded to our image by lending her our voice, recording words that somehow spoke of, and for, both of us – the woman in the photograph and the artist were intertwined. It was a deeply moving experience. It takes courage, confidence, resilience and perseverance to be an older woman. It takes backbone. Mine is stronger as a result of working with Anna, Helen, Ann and Sara on this exhibition.
Backbone is made possible by the kind permission of The Shirley Baker Estate and the Mary Evans Picture Library. It is the fourth and final art work of The Art of Coventry programme, which was developed and delivered by Coventry Artspace May-Nov 2018, with the generous support of Coventry City Council, Arts Council England, Coventry University and New Art West Midlands
Exhibition photograph by Tara Rutledge