We Could Apply Our Lipstick
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As you may well know Refuge, has reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day. In this time more than ever we need to band together and help women and often their children in need of shelter, London Black Women’s Project is a small charity organisation with their main offices based in Plaistow.
We are here to support women and girls. We can help with information, housing and homelessness, safe space, healing and recovery through art, advice and advocacy, key working and therapeutic support. – LBWP
Women don’t want to be granted equality; they want to win it. Which is not the same thing at all. –Simone De Beauvoir talking on being a woman in the 20th century art world.
‘We Could Apply Our Lipstick’ is an online show of 17 female artists Painting the subject of woman, 20% of sales will be donated directly to London Black Woman’s Project.
The show focuses on the ‘truth’ of sisterhood – the undeniable link we feel as we travel down a corridor, arm in arm, simply just because going to the bathroom with one of your sisters is much more preferable than going alone. We don’t know why it’s nicer to wee in the stall bordering another woman’s, although it probably dates back further than we realise and most likely relates to our ‘wildness’. We don’t know why we use these small cramped (and often damp) spaces to take long breaks and discuss our relationships. These linkages may seem like small gestures of friendship to the naked eye, however to us it can feel like a bond of trust, of friendship and of un-shaking loyalty.
The application of lipstick, our daily ‘war’ paint, comes in all colours. We wear our ‘Lips’ proudly, ‘I AM HERE, I AM WOMAN’ with a bright proud bloodlike red, ready for what the external day throws at us. The permanent red lip Frieda Kahlo uses in her self portraits to either hide or highlight her underlying pain, the thick red nail varnish in Meret Oppenheims ‘Pelzhandschuhe’ and the gleefully shot Disney-like beauty of ‘Ever is Overall’ by Pipilotti Rist from which we could derive either a fascinating lustful beauty regime or pure, fierce and precise anger. In ‘Timoclea Killing Her Rapist’ by Elisabetta Sirani or ‘Judith Beheading Holofernes’ by Artemisia Gentileschi, we see angry, violent acts by women. They are masterfully and beautifully painted with soft, smooth and babylike skin to seduce us, then the eye is suddenly drawn to the outburst of rage her hands are committing, a revenge on patriarchy, a violence out of place that we cannot ignore. They angrily cry ‘I AM HERE, I AM WOMAN, I AM STRONG AND I CANNOT BE IGNORED’.
It is now during this time of separation, when women are locked in dangerous spaces and fleeing for their safety, for us to put paintings, the ‘voices’ of women by women together, to chat, to giggle, to celebrate and cry together, to be that shoulder to lean on, to fight for each other and tell her ‘They were never good enough for you anyway’ and most importantly, ‘We are here for you’