To Future Women is a 20 year time capsule of letters written to the next generation of women to memorialize the 2017 Women's March and ongoing #MeToo movement. It is a networked interactive artwork that invites participants - women, men and all gendered identities - around the world to write a letter to women in twenty years time. Part art and part history, this collection of letters will be archived for twenty years in Washington, DC by national museums and re-exhibited in 2037 on the 20th anniversary of the Women’s March. To Future Women uses the platform of art to historicize one of the largest single protests in global history.
To date, To Future Women has received over 3000 letters in 10 different languages, including from Hillary Clinton and Dr Jill Biden, and been covered by press all over the world. The project launched at The Phillips Collection on 21st January, 2018, the one year anniversary of the Women's March, and traveled to different cultural institutions in Washington, DC over the following six months, including the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, the Anacostia Art Center, the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building and IA&A at Hillyer.
With special guest collaborators Viva Soudan and Bailey Nolan
Saxelby's first performance video work, Lullaby, inverts the masculine iconography of monumental structures by using the architecture as both physical support system and co-opted site for invented feminine rituals. Responding to the role that symbols play in shaping our ethos and defining our deepest values, the artist developed a new mytho-symbolic feminine language, activated and embodied through ritualized gestures.
These performances occupy and supplement the monuments and memorials of the National Mall in Washington, DC, dethroning masculine signifiers for an invented feminine symbolic order. This work investigates the monument as a site for emotional reactivation and questions the symbolic spaces in which cultural identities and values are performed. Entitled Lullaby, the work explores women-driven methods with which cultural knowledge, skills and value systems are activated, exchanged and passed down.
Choreography by Viva Soudan | Costumes by Bailey Nolan | Videography by Katie Schuler | Photography by Kristen Adair
The Architecture of a Witch's Hut
The installation The Architecture of a Witch’s Hut deals with the mythology of the witch in the Western cultural framework from a spatial perspective. The artist reimagines the traditionally denigratory symbol of the witch as a powerful independent female figure, and in doing so, seeks to question the Western cultural relationship to women. Acknowledging that women and notions of ‘home’ have a long and problematic relationship within architecture, this performative installation re-conceives the witch’s home as a feminine sacred space and a safe place for radical self-expression.
The structure references the New England architecture of the surrounding region, and with it, the real history of the burning of accused women in the area 300 years ago. Drawing parallels between the present and the past, this work aims to probe historical and cultural imagination as a method for social change. The project culminated in a ceremonial burning of the structure, reclaiming fire from a destructive and violent force to one of healing and regeneration. The participatory burning performance intended to regenerate the notion of the witch as an emboldened feminine role model and invited the audience to bare witness to the artist’s own process of self-empowerment as a young woman coming to terms with herself and her role in this world.
Photo Subodh Samudre
In collaboration with artist Chloe Bensahel
For their inaugural collaborative performance, Chloe Bensahel and Georgia Saxelby combine their practices to explore the junction between textiles, ritual and feminine mythology. To wash a garment is to unfold, submerge, and wring, to purify and, ultimately, to take control. Here, the tension between agency and submission, individuality and partnership, the pure and the sullied is held carefully in suspense. This performance was part of a Halcyon Arts Lab performance cycle in January 2018 during the artists' 9 month art and social impact residency.
Photo Antonius Bui
With guest performances by Machiko Motoi, Elizabeth Hogan and Adam Gottlieb. Photo: Kai Wasikowski
Finalist | 64th Blake Prize
Part installation, part audience-driven performance, BREAK examines traditional, ceremonial acts of catharsis involving the creation and destruction of totemic or sacred objects. BREAK consists of a white wall-mounted grid, a new kind of shrine, housing ceramic figures developed from the artist’s research into the ubiquitous and ancient ceremonial use of dolls. In front sits a plinth that has been transformed into an altar.
Members of the audience are invited to select a ritual doll and - standing on a pedestal facing the collective audience - smash it. Confronted with their own reaction to destroying it, they are forced to reflect upon the emotional and symbolic value we all place on art objects. A collaboration with a group of three performance artists lead to a series of evocative and emotive performances that played the role of opening ceremony and audience instruction.
Edible sculpture in collaboration with renowned australian patissier
Finalist | 64th Blake Prize
Ritual Gathering is an interactive installation that transforms a modern birthday celebration into a powerful symbolic event. Drawing on the cultural significance of an art gallery setting, it aims to reconnect art and ritual to both antagonize and reimagine the conventional language of art. The installation’s focus is a large painted cake - a living artwork that is consumed on the opening night - created in collaboration with Australia’s most celebrated patissier Adriano Zumbo.
Twelve hand-painted birthday hats appear to float at head height under which twelve cushions act as place settings, inviting audience members to sit together and participate. Ritual Gathering sought to highlight the audience’s intuitive, triggered response to a deeply ingrained ritual process by presenting them with specifically arranged motifs to which they had to respond with no instruction. It also intended to question the contemporary Western dislocation between art and ritual by challenging the audience’s role within the gallery space.