Female Matters (2)
Poster by Delilah Holliday
With all-female art collectives, DIY-designers and zines making their way to cult status among the internet generation, it’s hardly surprising that they are all joining forces to counteract the sexism and negativity in the world today. Enter Polyester zine (headed up by editor-in-chief Ione Gamble) and designer Clio Peppiatt who’ve joined forces to hold Female Matters; a group exhibition exploring sexual liberation in the 21st century.
Female Matters (1)
Illustration by Eleanor Hardwick
Showcasing some of London and the UK’s most exciting female artists, the girls were inspired to hold the event after watching the documentary The Cruel Cut and attending the FGM panel at the Women of the World festival. Shocked by the issues and blatant sexism that FGM is due to, they decided to raise funds for The Dahlia Project, a London based support group for women who have undergone FGM.
Female Matters (7)
Photography by Maisie Cousins
With artwork across a variety of mediums, including performance art, photography, film and sculpture, the exhibition was a celebration of girl power and community across the whole artistic spectrum. There was installation sculpture with a running film by Ayesha Tan Jones; beautifully executed blind-drawings and watercolours by Felicity Hayward (who also made an excellent DJ) as well as prints by Skinny Girl Diet band member Delilah Holliday, which used slogans such as ‘half the world is starving, the other half wanna lose weight’ and ‘ovaries are stronger than balls’ to spread her message of the importance of female empowerment. Sat alongside these were a painting series by Melissa Eakin that had messages of breaking away from the harmful ideas regarding female nudity; photography and self-portraits discussing femininity and digital culture from Scarlett Shaney Langdon and a film about females in hip-hop reclaiming their objectification titled ‘Bitches Be Like’ by Joana de Costa.
Female Matters (8)
Beaded nudes as part of ‘Body is a Cake’ by Melissa Eakin
The highlight of the exhibition was the group customised knicker installation. Strung from wall to wall were close to 40 pairs of knickers, customised by artists, photographers, agencies and zines. Among them were cult modelling agency Anti Agency, the BBYFACE collective, Girls Only NYC, The Mushpit, The Digital Fairy and Maisie Cousins.
Female Matters (6)
Part of a group knicker installation of over 30 pairs of customised knickers!
Combining feminism with a real cause to raise awareness and start discussions about, the exhibition was both a celebration of great female artistic talent in the UK today, as well as highlighting the ongoing issue of FGM. Unfortunately this exhibition was a one-night-only event, so let’s hope Polyester and Clio Peppiatt join forces again and hold more exhibitions and events for this cause.
For more information on the Dahlia project go to mayacentre.org.uk
For more information about Female Matters or this exhibition contact
Ione Gamble – ione@polyesterzine.com
Clio Peppiatt – info@cliopeppiatt.co.uk

Words by Annie Lunnon


Anti Agency, Ayesha Tan Jones, Balti Girls, Bbyface Collective, Bitches Be Like, Bunny Collective, Charlotte Mei, Christina Poku, Clio Peppiatt, Delilah Holliday, Eleanor Hardwick, Emily Wang, exhibition, Felicity Hayward, Female Matters, Feminism, FGM, Georgia Grace Gibson, Girls Only NYC, Ione Gamble, Jessica Gwyneth, Joana de Costa, Joanna Kiely, Maisie Cousins, Mary Sims-Howlett, Melissa Eakin, Polyester Zine, Samantha Conlon, Scarlett Shaney Langdon, Skinny Girl Diet, Sophie New, The Cruel Cut, The Dahlia Project, The Digital Fairy, The Mushpit, Vanessa Omoregie, Women of the World, Yelena Smith,