FROM OUR ARTISTS
Selected works from our creative community. Email georgia@femzinelondon to submit.
she wears latex
A photo story exploring how fashion, textiles and femininity can be used to dominate a space. This collaborative shoot brought together the minds of 4 creatives, all with very different styles to produce this power packed photo set celebrating femininity, sexuality, texture and fashion.
Photography by Jasmine Engel-Malone
Styling by Katie Gill Harrison
Makeup by Ella Froud
Modelled by Zoe Lilou
Zoe wears Studio Fclx, Rose Eerie, Meiyu Song
Melancholia, miss me erode, and malik nashad sharpe
Interview with Malik Nashad Sharpe, the choreographer, dancer, and movement director behind the brand/alias/alter ego 'marikiscrycrycry'. In Malik's first interview about their new work, we talk to them about 'Miss Me Erode' which manifested as a fashion collection for their audience to buy, wear, and experience their work in a new and physical way.
We’re celebrating your first ever fashion collection. Firstly congrats! The pieces look incredible. This feels major!
What made you want to develop and release a fashion collection?
Well the lockdown really sparked it for me because before this I was touring a lot and I never had the time to consider new projects that weren't performance. But also because styling, clothes, and all of that are such huge parts of my artistic practice it just seemed right to do this now, as theatres and galleries are shut. I wanted to use this moment to try something new but to expand on things that are already in my practice. I've been working with Sam Ray who designed the collection and hand-made the garments, and we've worked together as he's made graphics for my work in the past and so it just felt fitting to try and team up to realise something more ambitious.
I’m wondering what this year has been like for you and your practice ?
It has definitely shifted--but I tried to remain open to the possibilities of this moment in time, like...to try and make something, to continue making art even though there are limitations on what we can do. For me, I saw all of these limitations as potential rather than sinking in sadness that my tours got cancelled because of COVID. I've been making new work, connecting with new people to work with, and taking more time to research in my practice. I've performed on a lot of livestreams including for London Fashion Week, in Gaika's Nine Nights, YardOnline, and Somerset House, so its been different but we move still.
How has this (if at all) influenced the collection?
We just wouldn't have done it had it not been for this year and all of the things that have happened. I wouldn't even be here right now had this year gone to the original plan. It felt like, okay, I'm not gonna wait for theatres and galleries to reopen for me to continue my practice. I'm an artist and I will always make work, cause I have to, you know? But also me and Sam are very much interested in some of the same aesthetics and have similar values around that so it just all felt apart of our process to bring this collection to fruition
Your work is always unconventional (for want of a better term). What boundaries was important to be pushing with the collection?
I'm super interested in melancholic aesthetics and am so inspired by rock stars and visual kei--
Can we expect more developments of this part of your practice? More collections (please)?
Hahaha, we are already making plans for the next thing so more on that soon!
I'm always trying to make melancholia productive, rather than something to get away from, or something that leads to a stoppage. I was like...what does my practice look like if it can be worn rather than witnessed in a big room with lights. I think all of the terms we use, choreographer, designer, artist, they are all terms to be fucked with, and expanded upon. I wanna always be doing that.
Exclusive behind the scenes shots provided by Malik Nashad Sharpe from their 'Miss Me Erode' lookbook shoot. For the full look book click 'shop the collection'.
'Miss Me Erode' collection made in collaboration with designer Sam Ray.
Black Nova – Our return to Communalism
Artwork and text by Krystle Amoo
It took 8 minutes and 46 seconds for the mobilisation of people who are usually found motionless against oppressive issues. However, history teaches us that unifying in just action and not unifying in thought has no true sustainability.
Therefore, this spontaneous action by people against racism doesn't necessarily equate to a dedicated continuity in the fight for freedom. This illusion of "multicultural unity" against racism will hold no real body, because of the absence of raw dialogic pedagogy and Socratic empathy (which is needed for transformative solidarity to occur) within society. In this reactive spontaneity, a majority of us are not taking the time to acknowledge the actual weight of interlocking systems that affect the oppressed community. Nor have those who choose to live in colour blindness spent enough time studying the sheer magnitude of white supremacy's legacy through a critical lens. A simple apology, armchair activism or diversifying your workplace through plaster policies will not suffice. How can we expect to generate longevity in the struggle for liberation if people only participate in the honeymoon period of the revolution, but never stay long enough to wade deep in the "funk" of what happens after the romance runs out? To believe that unity based on genuine solidarity can organically form without any critical framework in place is delusional. To glamorise the term ally, when there is no unity within our own community, reflects the long road to decolonisation. We have become a community that has morphed into individuals, we've lost our communalism under the system, diluting the power to refrain from the passive consumer role, never becoming the active participants we should be. Even in a time of unity, whiteness always finds its way to the centre of discussion (allyship fatigue, superficial apologies for privilege, false generosity, marketing tactics in the form of corporate solidarity etc.) And yes, I am fully aware as to why that is. However, in upholding the need to view our world through whiteness, we relieve ourselves from the responsibility to problematise anything outside of whiteness (gender, sexism, etc.). The core body of our solutions is "what can whiteness do for us or teach us"– allowing our freedom to be decided on our behalf, equating to the subject versus object theory.
The white and black binary within the construct that is race has been in a constant battle of subject versus object since the birth of imperialism. Not to take away from the suffering and violence we as a community endure – but we need to understand that outside this narrative of anti-blackness, in the form of physical abuse, there are other systems of domination that dehumanise us into mere objects. We need to look at identity through a compound lens, to critically acknowledge identity doesn't have to be one-dimensional, and by doing so, it will allow us to understand the multiple oppressive apparatus working simultaneously with one another. Therefore, this notion that someone who is against racism (individually or institutionally) does not mean they are in favour of all other oppressive structures being dismantled. We saw it in the feminist movement in the 60s and 70s: where white women were against oppressive patriarchal structures, but not necessarily for liberating black women from other interlocking systems such as racism and capitalism. That being said, this also applies to some within my community – we witness it with narrow black nationalism where the main objective is tackling white supremacy, while denying the same energy raging against patriarchy, sexism or capitalism. What I am trying to say is, mobilisation has no substance without organisation. Kwame Ture kindly highlighted that "unity doesn't represent what you are against it represents what you are for" therefore being against a structure is somewhat obsolete, whereas being for something, embodies transformative energy. Meaning we can be unified against police brutality but not necessarily for moving towards an anti-exploitative society. Being 'against' merely influences superficial reform, being 'for' brings about empowerment to transgress towards abolition and the birth of replacement pro-human structures. We need a revolutionary way of thinking if we as a community are ever going to move from object to subject.
So, when this pivotal moment occurred, I was drawn to analyse the climate before embracing a union without any organisation. Of course, the people's reaction was based on the weighty pressure of police brutality. However, I believe the influence of a world pandemic was a crucial catalyst for this voluntary solidarity. Arundhati Roy said "the pandemic is a portal" and it indeed was: we have many historical references in which pandemics have helped reset society's consciousness into transformative action (even if it's short-lived). These 8 minutes and 46 seconds were rooted in a time of a mild capitalist burnout, where people had respite and time to look inwards. The lack of distractions coupled with the dismantling of our unhealthy obsession with time, and the avoided conversation about race managed to outgrow the restriction of fragility. It found refuge in the voice boxes of neoliberals (whose ideals often cannot house the complex phenomenon that is race) and as well as the voice boxes of those of the oppressed who for so long have found themselves complacent in their fatigue. In this newfound desire to vocalise with pejorative, a superficial awaking occurred, frustratingly encouraged the terms ally and activist to coat loose lips. The chaos of social consciousness, allowed these titles pronounced onto anyone, including those who chose to see these 8 minutes and 46 seconds as a wrongful opportunity to emphasise individualism and less on communalism.
What became apparent and exposed in this call to activism was the illusion of black unity in the slogan "Black Lives Matter". In this national attention on the black community, a cluster of cavities were brought to light. Under the umbrella of "Black lives Matter" and this grand attempt to confront the system of oppression, the underside of this community found itself in an egocentric predicament. We witnessed the sub-oppressors within the black community emerged sanitised in fragility, and what should have been a time of building critical frameworks was instead a time for exorcising the less powerful. The narrow lens which we inherited from the oppressor saw a large portion of our community's vexation with the idea of oppression being multi-dimensional. They only prioritised white supremacy, and the audacity to problematise any other system was seen as a distraction from the fight. This ideology is soaked in patriarchal domination, promoted by a group within our community that are desperate to assimilate whiteness. They are against white supremacy because it's the only structure they feel stands in the way of their turn to dominative power. They are positioned within our community as if their main objective is liberation for all. However, their protective drapes are brought down when anyone in our community tries to challenge the binaries of capitalist oppression, which to them makes their narrow fight more intricate. The irony is none of these fights for freedom are singular, they are intersected, and you can't remove one without the other. If we honour the complex layering involved in identity make-up, we can then detach from our fear of collectivism. When self-seeking, freedom becomes subjective; therefore, the meaning of freedom becomes an individual agenda and not for the benefit of a whole community. For example, a Black trans person, found in the social-economics of the under-class, will be oppressed under a host of structures - and so when they say "Black Trans Lives Matter" they are in no means against or distracting form the Black liberation fight. They are in fact the poster child for the Black liberation fight. Understanding that white supremacy is one pillar amongst others (gender and capitalism etc.) oppressing them – will allow a broader meaning of freedom for our community.
So, in a time of wishful unity, I realised how difficult it is to naively believe race is all that is needed to unify us in the fight for freedom. However, in these 8 minutes and 46 seconds, I recognised that unless we denounce individualism and problematise the systems plaguing all our community – finding freedom will always be a subjective reality. We need to return to communalism, and the process in getting there will involve critical thinking and engaged pedagogy. There, in that moment, when we become subjects, we will find that the solutions for freedom will present themselves.
Stylist: Kai Cornwall
Photographer: Joel Bailey
Models: Tinashe and Valentina
Editorial exploring new love and old romanticism.
For Us That Hide From Touch / I Reach For You In Dark Spaces
'For Us That Hide From Touch / I Reach For You In Dark Spaces', a new poem from Olivia Douglass, is a lyric exploration of self-understanding. A dive into the world of erotic knowledge, dissociation and the cultivation of new ways to feel and share.
Olivia Douglass is a writer and artist based in London. Their work spans the genres of poetry, verse/lyrics essays, short fiction, and live literature focusing on race, sexuality and language. Their live readings convene these textual explorations, each reading is rooted in the practice of rhythm and shared space as continuation of ancestral storytelling. They performed earlier this year at our last live event FEM FESTIVAL 3 at the Yard Theatre and are back to share some brand new work with FEM.