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The projects have been produced as part of the wider Culture Shifts venture, a new and exciting socially engaged photography programme from Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, supported by the Strategic Touring Fund, Arts Council England. Working with eleven national and international photographers embedded in communities across seven areas of Liverpool City Region, it aims to support communities to explore their stories in a way that is meaningful to them.
The photographs in this project have all been produced with a group of women from Wirral Change, a Black and Minorities Outreach Service.
Many of the women in the group were international, with English as a second language. Another Language seeks to use photography as a universal common language, creating new opportunities for communication between the women of the group.
The work takes the form of long sequences or ‘conversations’ of photographs, almost like unfurled rolls of camera film. Each conversation begins with an image taken by Steph Wynne or Steph Fawcett that resonates with the women’s group. Using this as a starting point, the women in the group add another image that acts as a response. Long photographic conversations developed out of this process.
The conversations reveal the women’s love of home, colour, landscape and the environment. They also include images from the participant’s family archives and documentation of their journeys to Britain and around the world.
In addition to the conversations, the women are represented in a set of collaboratively produced portraits that give clues to their backgrounds; they are shown within images of their own mirror frames, or selected picture frames, to conjure the sense of contemplating their own reflection, or looking how they wish to appear.
The colour palette used for the panels is taken from the Della Robbia Collection of pottery, housed at the Williamson Art Gallery. This connects the women, regardless of their birthplace, to Wirral: their chosen home.
In The Pink Room
Tomorrow’s Women Wirral is a female only environment that the members of the group see as a haven. As one participant puts it, “everyone needs a place like this”.
The women have varied interests and reasons for attending the centre; this is reflected in the work produced. Each participant photographed or collected images of a personal interest, and then worked these images into objects.
They chose masks as their objects because they felt that we all, often, have to disguise our true selves. With the support and fellowship found at Tomorrow’s Women Wirral they feel they’ve been helped to remove their masks.
The panoramic portrait of the group, including the two photographers, is set in the beautifully tended garden at Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, making a connection between the participants, their haven and the concept of personal growth.
In the photographs, the women are wearing the masks not for anonymity but because of the groups’ sense of fun, playfulness and camaraderie.
Join Redeye for an afternoon of sharing and networking for women in photography, including an exclusive tour of the Another Language and In the Pink Room exhibitions at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum. RedEye event on the 16th of September.
Please note the gallery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. To download our current newsletter, click here for the WAG WM sept 2017 Newsletter