Co-founders Eliza Hatch (left) and Bee Illustrates (right) pose smiling in front of an artwork at the 2024 Hysterical: Radical Creativity exhibition in Bermondasey, London

Women’s History Month exhibition raises funds for LGBTQ+ charity

A charity art exhibition celebrating women’s and LGBTQ+ radical creativity opened in Bermondsey on Wednesday 20 March.

The project, organised by Hysterical Collective and hosted at the Bermondsey Project Space in Bermondsey Street, is running for the third consecutive year on the latter part of Women’s History Month.

Built around the theme of Radical Creativity, it features works by 13 artists exploring a vast range of social justice and gender equality issues, from femicide to sustainability.

Eliza Hatch, co-founder of Hysterical, said: “It is a labour of love. We’re a grassroots organisation and we want to encourage people to come and experience the exhibition and events for themselves, but also to engage with the issues we’re tackling and the charity element of the show.”

The exhibition is free to attend, but the programme includes ticketed events such as art workshops and a skating and sketching session at local bar-cum-skatepark Hop Kingdom.

Revenue from event admissions and artwork sales will go to LGBTQIA anti-abuse charity Galop.

Amy Roch, Galop’s interim CEO, said: “It’s incredible to see this collection of queer and feminist-led art that also celebrates activism, safety and joy.

“We want to say a big thank you to Eliza and everyone involved for fundraising to help Galop provide life-saving support for LGBTQ+ victims of abuse and violence when they need it most.”

Eliza and interdisciplinary creative Bee Illustrates met at an event in October 2021, and were inspired to found Hysterical by the lack of physical space reserved to marginalised artists whose online activity had boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bee Illustrates said: “I had also just moved from Edinburgh to London and both Eliza and I were noticing how difficult it is to make friends as an adult, so we wanted to create that opportunity we both wished we had when we were starting out.”

This year’s exhibition features for the first time a collaborative installation by Eliza and Bee.

Vacant // Engaged is a full-scale interactive bathroom where visitors can explore intimate themes of gender identity, safety and public spaces.

The bathroom, decorated in pink and blue, is equipped with plastic-free period products donated by ethical maker Natracare.

A view of a bathroom with pink walls and light blue fixtures, with two instant cameras on the corner of the tub and an assortment on sanitary products on the side of the toilet.
A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN: Vacant // Engaged (2024) by Eliza Hatch and Bee Illustrates provides a space for reflection on intimate questions of gender in private and public spaces.

Visitors can leave personalised messages on a large mirror or by taking photos with the instant cameras provided and hanging them on a clothesline.

Bee said: “Bathrooms can be really loaded spaces, especially for gender diverse people.

“With a lot of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in the media and with Eliza being a prominent gender equality activist, we thought it would be significant to encourage people to include and respect the LGBTQ+ community, specifically the gender diverse and trans communities, during Women’s History Month, as 31 March is also Transgender Day of Visibility.”

Eliza said: “To me, the bathroom is a place for people to engage with issues they might only ever see on the front page of a newspaper and think about them in a different way.

“We live in a very polarising time, any conversation on trans rights and women’s rights tends to be shut down, but we wanted to create a space where it can be opened up again.”

The other 13 artworks on display tackle a variety of topics relating to the artists’ interests and experiences, all interwoven with the common thread of feminist and radical thinking.

Femicides 2022 – 23 by Spanish-born visual artist Arabel Lebrusan, illustrates the gender-based murders of women and girls in England and Wales between 2022 and 2023 through 69 tiles of broken crockery embedded in plaster.

The artwork, which aims to give voice to victims of domestic abuse, was created in collaboration with 18 women and girls during the artist’s residency at art organisation Quiet Down There in Brighton.

A white plaster panel hanging on a white wall, comprised of 69 tiles made of broken crockery.
SHATTERING NUMBERS: Femicides 2022 – 23 (2024) by Arabel Lebrusan visually displays the number of women killed in the domestic sphere in one year.

Not Your Island Souvenir by Philippines-based artist Summer Puertollano denounces colonial attitudes of conquest towards women of colour.

The artwork, combining postcards, photography and tapestry, is described as a call to action and care on the loss of traditions, indigenous wisdoms and identities.

A framed picture hanging from a white wall of a woman standing on a beach with her feet in the water and holding up a tapestry with the words "Not your island souvenir" embroidered on it.
CALL TO CARE: Not Your Island Souvenir (2023) by Summer Puertollano denounces colonial attitudes towards women and people of colour.

Textile artist Emmally Parsons combined the tapestry tradition of Romany folklore and the LGBTQ history in the UK to reflect on the shared political turbulence of both communities.

Parsons said: “The fabrics I have crafted aim to illuminate the beautiful contrasts that exist between these two worlds.”

A tapestry artwork made of three different patterns, in the colours of violet, purple and pink, with the phrase "Craft is the future" repeatedly embroidered across it in yellow. The artwork is enclosed in a black frame hanging on a white wall.
INTERWOVEN IDENTITY: Craft Is The Future from Queer As Folk Collection, Fabric 36 (2021) by Emmally Parsons combines elements from their experience as a Romany and LGBTQ+ artist.

Hysterical: Radical Creativity is free to attend and open to the public until 31 March 2024. People who are interested in visiting can find out more via the Hysterical Collective Instagram profile.

Featured image credit: Fran Di Fazio

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles