Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Where Are We Now? interview with Sally Barker

Where Are We Now?

Sally Barker

This is an exciting time for me - I moved back to Calderdale 18 months ago with my family, I had been living in London for 22 years, since leaving art college, so half my life has been spent in a one of the largest cities in the world. I am really enjoying living back in the North, where access to the rural landscape plays a vital role in my life and work.

I am the first artist on a 3 year project called The Watershed Landscape Project - artists inspired by the upper landscape of the South Pennines. In many ways this commission was tailor made for me! I get paid to produce a body of work inspired by this landscape which has been part of me since childhood- I love it deeply.

The work is sculptural in nature but photographically presented. I explore the landscape, collecting natural materials and panoramic images. I make small scale sculpture with the materials , which are photographed back into the landscape- sometimes at the same site and sometimes many miles across the moors. These migrations of materials echo journeys and movements on a larger scale, that the earths sculpting and destructive forces have resulted in the land as we see it today. Glacial valleys, incredible rock formations, waterfalls etc. I am also looking at the mark we have left on the land- our interaction via farming, the construction of engineering phenomena like the reservoirs, the windmills, monuments etc. The story is a constantly shifting and complex interplay between us and the landscape, which I am telling through the combination of small sculpture, model painted figures and epic landscape. This body of work is far from a pious homage to nature- as with all my work,whether its looking at architecture and the urban landscape, or this rural one, materials are used to explore identity. I hope my intentions to integrate humor and playfulness come across, to make the work is compelling, intriguing and surprising with ourselves at the heart.

What's New?
New in my life - as above. New house, new environment, new body of work, new friends and contacts, new walks, new children's' schools, new skills, new workplaces, more contact with my family, less contact with old friends, new neighbours, new pet rabbit, new future.

Where Are We Now?
The journey towards gender equality carries on, the end is nowhere near being in-sight. For every woman in a position of power there will be 10, or 100, women struggling for the same rights, pay, status, acknowledgement as male peers. There are probably infinitely more who aren't even aware of this as an issue. It makes me sad to hear so many women say they don't see themselves as feminist, they seem afraid of the word. It has negative, overly politicised connotations for some younger women. Bu t my 12 year old daughter and 8 year old son , know about equality between men and women, (they like to use the word sexist!) , so there is a future because enough people care and wont let it slide. Its ongoing.

What's to be done?
Keep discussing, addressing, voicing opinion when its uncomfortable. Expose inequality - passive and active. Keep afloat the idea of positive discrimination in places of power like Parliament, as long as the women chosen are equal or better. Carry on highlighting positive values that women bring to a situation, so that we look at gender issues in a complex , not polarised way.

Who's Next?
Inspirational artist - close friend Sally Labern. Always stretching hers and other peoples expectations regarding possibilities for art to be used as a tool for growth, community cohesion, intelligent, thoughtful stimulus. She reminds me to look around more, search out artists that might inspire and will counteract my tendency to be artistically introverted.

What are you looking forward to?
Looking forward to my own exhibition! Cartwright Hall in June, showing the work I'm producing for The Watershed Project. Look forward to making lots of new contacts and meeting like minded artists.


sorry, seems some folk have sent me their request to an old email address (i can't access the fsmail account now) please email it'll be about a day for me to check/add you as an author,
many thanks!

Glasgow Feminist Network event

Hi everyone!

Here is the schedule for the GFN and Friends Day Event this coming Saturday from 10am - 4:30pm at the Glasgow Women's Library, 15 Berkeley Street. It is a 'drop in' event, so if you are not able to attend all of it, please come for some of it!
10:00 - 11:00 Doors Open - Welcoming people to the event, catching up/chatting, meeting new people and time to have a look at the stalls.

11:00 - 12:30 Book Reading and Discussion - Please bring along an excerpt from a favourite book, a poem or a magazine/newspaper article to read on the theme of women, why you became involved in feminism or why it's a meaningful text for you. People are welcome to attend the reading event just to listen.

12:30 - 13:30 Lunch - In addition to the cake stall and teas and coffees, we hope to have a small provision of savoury foods, so its advisable to bring some additional lunch for the day, theres a tesco's near by also.

13:30 - 16:00 Film showing and discussion - We will be showing Persepolis, a "Poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution", followed by discussion. Please follow this IMDB link - - for more information.

In addition throughout the day there will be a clothes swap event where a table/area will be set up for people to bring any old clothes, shoes, bags etc to donate and swap with other items. We will also have a fundraising cake stall for the Oxfam 'Have a bit of a do' campaign - - money raised will directly support Oxfam's work with women through various projects e.g. ending violence against women in Pakistan. If people are able to bring cakes for the fundraising stall it would be greatly appreciated, fundraising and cakes is a winner!
Further to this there will be a visual art input at the event by one of GFN's members, and she will be bringing some art materials for those that are up for 'having a go'.

Please bring friends, readings, old clothes and cakes! The more the merrier applies to all of these : )

Looking forward to seeing lots of you there!

Glasgow Feminist Network X