I was not feeling International Women’s Day this March. The fervour and heat were replaced by cynicism. The stand alone uniqueness of a day devoted to thinking of women and Zumba and international affairs was gazumped by Trump and his tweets and by we women and men having to think of responses to his ideal male predominant world. FGM still not on most people’s radar was near to our day but was an island hardly joined onto women’s other issues. I was never embraced as a women artist at an exhibition of women made installations and whatevers where my painting and other women’s paintings were exhibited on church flippin’ chairs. So all in all I was disheartened and never found a way up. I did highlight my feelings in a month when you’d think women’s feelings would be all-important. Only in the hype. I was put down with nasty words and realized retaliation was not a clever option and that the banner for International Women’s Day was a convenience for business and not a shelter of sanctuary for the fifty one per cent.
My own Champions art exhibition which was meant to be a month long collaboration with a radio dj where we celebrated local women who just get on with it in their community was let down by that dj who never understood the whole women thing on a radio station where white men get played all the time and the guests are white middle class forty somethings full of do-good for the community backed by logos and funding. I was forced to sulk.
Never felt that sisterhood as I flogged a dead horse with women my age who’d never heard of International Women’s Day. I still had the spirit for supporting my champions and threw a launch to mark the day. The paintings were respected but never promoted on Facebook and in the community except by me. I took it upon myself to promote women artists as printers for the whole month. Do as you would be done by.
At Stratford east Picturehouse my Headscarves 1950s canvases adorned the community art wall. There were pictures of women eeking out pennies for fish, and a nude all in pink which reminds me of Hassan Vawda’s Indian Cats.
Neither the PictureHouse nor the Hackney Central Library ever promote community artists. You hang yourself and you dismount your work yourself. Not one community hub will promote you unless you’re funded by an arts council branch and your local council can get mileage out of you. It’s a nasty sad world in the circle of art. And yet I will do it all again because a passion is an addiction and the community wall space is free except in Barking.
Not many people realise that the huge clothing retailer T.K. Maxx shelves discounted lines of organic and specialist foodstuffs and teas. I knew because I attended Made In Hackney’s vegan meals’ workshops where some of the chefs told us about the packets of seeds and jars of sauces they purchased. Mind you, these are people who refuse to go to Iceland and Tesco where stuff is much cheaper. Stick a garlic bulb in and any plant derived dish becomes tastier and exotic. Around the corner to T K Maxx is a small and comfortable Sainsbury’s. Keep your eye out for those orange labels indicating special offers: Matzos 80p instead of £1.20.
And then something, There is a move to encourage poor people to buy their medicines and appliances off prescription from pharmacies and supermarkets where stuff is cheaper. Except that of course those big supermarkets are driven by business models not charity and have already started to up their prices on for example eye lotions. And how has Tesco got on with donating their left-over food to the homeless because on Monday night there was plenty of crusty bread still sitting in the bakery?
I sound like Granville’s boss reflecting on the day after the corner-shop shuts of an evening.