The theme for this years’ International Women’s Day is ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world’, celebrating the efforts of women and girls around the world shaping a more equal future and recovery from the pandemic, and highlighting the gaps that remain. Profile Gallery was borne from women in this pandemic taking leadership and wanting to create a more equal future.
Bea: The Social Distance Art Project (TSDAP)
The Social Distance Art Project (TSDAP) was set up in the wake of Covid-19 by a group of 2020 Fine Art graduates and women hoping to offer a platform to showcase and discuss graduate work in the absence of Degree Shows. I have chosen to feature them in our International Women’s Day series as they are run by four incredible women who embody this year’s theme of women in leadership: achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world.
Like PG, these women have created a digital community for artists. They combine social media and the digital galleries found on their website to give artists the exposure they need to make it in the art world. On their site and socials, they show paintings, sculptures, photography, printing, drawing and mark-making, multidisciplinary art, performance, video, textiles, design and illustration. Their site also includes a directory of all their artists and offers independent opportunities, as well as those held in conjunction with their exhibition partners, to buy from and monetarily support the artists showcased.
It is an inspiring platform and initiative that has a lot in common with PG, and we’re looking forward to seeing where they, and the artists they exhibit, go next.
Chatting to Director Natasha Alexander about the importance of digital communities, she had this to say: “Digital communities, and the collaborations and connections between them, have proved to be a vital tool throughout the pandemic. Our hope is that the buzz of these communities will continue post Covid – that they’ll exist beyond circumstantial necessity. The existing models of the art world simply aren’t viable for emerging artists – TSDAP want to change that by encouraging an equal spread of opportunities, bypassing the unachievable targets facing those who are trying to a carve a place for themselves in the Industry.”
Like PG, they are striving towards using the digital community to create a more equal future in a Covid-19 and need to be celebrated as being part of this on International Women’s Day.
Artists, their submissions (like ours!) are always open, so we encourage you to take a look at https://www.thesocialdistanceartproject.co.uk/submit and submit. Art-lovers, have a scroll through their Insta or take a look at their online gallery spaces – you won’t be disappointed.
Grace: Aliyah Hasinah
Next up is Aliyah Hasinah, a self-described ‘curator, writer and filmmaker whose work focuses on decolonial approaches to history and the present day’.
Aliyah embodies the IWD theme of creating a more equal future, as she seeks to create a more equal art world through her curatorial practice. Having founded the platform The Black Curatorial Labs, Aliyah is providing an opportunity for black curators to discuss, dissect and build curatorial projects together in order to critique and hold accountable the structures in place. talented young people creating music, art and fashion across the ci
Aliyah has been involved in a number of curatorial projects. The mural project Aliyah co-curated for Birmingham's Bass Festival (2019) celebrated the city's 'Future Black Icons', showcasing 22 black musicians, artists, organisers, and educators. She also co-produced and co-curated an exhibition with poet and visual artist Ruth Sutoyé which explored black women's choice to shave their heads. The exhibition was held in Unit 5 Gallery (Hackney, London), the Freeword Centre (Clerkenwell, London), and Roundhouse (Camden London). Aliyah is currently heading a research project called Decolonising the Curatorial which explores the impact of colonialism on the artistic infrastructure and the artists in New York and Barbados.
Aliyah has inspired us here at Profile Gallery, which is why we have chosen to include her in this special International Women’s Day series. In particular, our Co-founder and Gallery Director, Grace, is influenced massively by Aliyah's approach to the art world: "Aliyah's vision for the art world is fundamentally important. Her lucid approach is one I hope to channel as we develop Profile Gallery."
Beth: Montana Hall
Montana is the founder and owner of Run The Check, an independent site that advertises paid opportunities for creatives mainly in the London area and ranging from internships to entry to mid level jobs, freelance, paid artist residencies.
She began RTC in her first year of university, she is now in her final year: “At first, I struggled a lot with managing RTC around uni. It was hard to pay attention at uni whilst trying to run the site. I now have a pretty solid routine and can maintain a healthy balance between uni, RTC, and everything else in my life.”
Montana told us RTC began from her own job searching: “I was looking for a job at the time and found loads of cool opportunities that I wanted to share with friends. So it started simply as a page to keep my friends in the know.” This empathy is what cofounder and producer, Beth, most admires in Montana’s leadership: “She works unbelievably hard to maintain an empathetic, incisive and free platform – all on her own and all for the benefit of others.”
RTC's success demonstrates to us at PG how female leadership is crucial to a more equal future, especially during the pandemic year(s). Profile Gallery was borne from women trying to build and maintain a creative community during this time. Beth says: “We have a lot to learn at PG but getting to know such a strong community of women working in the digital sphere gives us the tools we need to develop ourselves, independently and professionally, and our organisation.”
Lucy: Rosalie Yu
Next in our series of Profiles for International Women’s Day is Rosalie Yu, an artist and researcher born and raised in Taiwan and now currently residing in NYC. She is currently a science, technology and society resident at the Delfina Foundation.
In two of her ongoing projects, Knowing Together and Photographic Knitting Club, Rosalie is concerned with collaboration and the possibility of transformation through digitising techniques, and how they can illuminate the mechanics of our social structures.
Photographic Knitting Club is a series of collaborative workshops where together, participants break down the process of photogrammetry – a technique that stitches 2D images together to create a 3D model. This process imitates the social structures at play during this pandemic when we are reliant on 2D images to replicate a 3D model. Rosalie says: "The process of stitching multiple perspectives resembles the function of an artist – a knot maker and connector of ideas who produces new knowledge."
Similarly, in Knowing Together, Rosalie looks towards the embodied experience of 3D art through collaboration. The in-person workshop began by a number of workshop attendees embracing whilst the rest encircled them, each taking photos. This process produced seven resin printed sculptures which were then suspended in acrylic domes, "creating visual artefacts of the creation process."
Lucy chose to highlight Rosalie Yu’s work in this series as, she says, "her current work, which uses photogrammetry, focuses on elevating the feminised concept of intimacy – something we're all lacking at the moment."