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The Burden of Heavy Flesh

Annabelle Chace, Noemi Conan, Jasmin Jahmeelah, Uchercie, Lorena Prain

Curated by Andia Coral Newton

15 – 19 August 2023

Bermondsey Project Space

“Adam, and by extension all men, were made from clay. They were therefore hard and strong. Eve, because she was made from Adam’s body, was weaker and softer, but that meant her mind was sharper. She was defined less by what her body could do than what her mind was free to achieve without the burden of heavy flesh.” 

– Hildegard of Bingen (b.1098)*

As a prolific thinker and writer, Hildegard was trying to make sense of what she knew – that the women of her time had much to contribute to society, but were being silenced – within an oppressive context in which she was very much an outlier. Underpinning this group exhibition is the idea that ‘girlhood’ is unique, and experienced differently by every individual. Making sense of girlhood can be messy, intimate, nonsensical and non-binary. Many would also disagree with Hildegard; in fact the freedom to imagine is very often held back by the form of a person’s flesh. 

Paint, often likened to flesh, can be used to bring whimsy and strangeness into an artists’ imagery, but there are also times when ‘girlhood’ is marked by discomfort, darkness, frustration and boredom. This exhibition is a space dedicated to celebrating women and non-binary artists in contemporary painting. By presenting the works of Annabelle Chace, Noemi Conan, Jasmin Jahmeelah, Uchercie, and Lorena Prain, the curator aims to platform lesser acknowledged depictions of ’girlhood’, from the dazzling to the disconcerting.

*Source: The Once and Future Sex: Going Medieval on Women’s Roles in Society, Eleanor Janega

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