Joy Gerrard

Women’s Strike, Warsaw, Poland, 28th of October, 2020

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Year 2021
Medium Ink and pencil on paper
Dimensions 20.8 x 29.7 cm
Top pick Katharine Hamnett CBE, fashion designer

About the work

On the 30th of October 2020, over 100,000 people took to the streets of Warsaw to protest against a near total ban on abortion which has now become law in Poland. This ink on paper image shows a section of the protest and is one of a series of drawings I am making in order to visualise and think about the energy, anger and dynamic of the protestors. It’s also part of a larger project that I am working on in 2021 researching protests that relate to women’s issues; including equality, safety and abortion rights.

About the artist:

Born 1971 Tipperary, Joy Gerrard lives and works in Belfast. Graduated from National College of Art and Design, Ireland (1995); MA Royal College of Art (2001); and MPHIL Royal College of Art (2008).

Drawing on over a decade of image-making and research on themes of protest and urban space, Irish artist Joy Gerrard archives and painstakingly remakes media-borne crowd images, including those from the anti-Trump protests, Brexit and Black Lives Matter. Alongside abstract film pieces, these are re-imaged in large monochrome paintings and small complex drawings made with Japanese ink. In her work, the figure of the crowd comes to suggest the expression of collective agency. Gerrard’s crowds are viewed from above, suggesting the remove of media surveillance, while the fluidity and drama of their moment is expressed through precise, expressive mark-making.

Her works are held in public and private collections including Bristol Museum and Art Gallery; British Government Art Collection; Ulster Museum, The Glucksman Gallery, Cork (UCC); and the Irish Arts Council.

Selected solo exhibitions include Put it to the People, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (2020); Solo booth, Ormston House, Art Supermarket, Stockholm (2019); fractured crowd, Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford (2019); The North is Next, Billboard Project, Kingsgate Gallery, London (2018); shot crowd, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin and MCAC, Portadown (2017); and Protest Crowd, PEER, London (2015). Selected group exhibitions include The RHA Annual, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2020); Cristea Roberts Gallery, The Armoury, New York (2020); Moving Spaces, Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2020); John Gerrard/Joy Gerrard. Making History, Vienna Art Week (2019); Protest and Remembrance, Cristea Roberts Gallery, London (2019); Crossing Lines, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda and FE McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge (2018); and Graphic Witness, Drawing Room, London (2017).

Residencies and awards include Artist in Residence, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (Jan-Mar 2020); and Major Bursary Award, Arts Council of Ireland (2020).

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