Caterpillars to Kahlo at international women’s art evening


Pia Cabble as Khalo, painting a self portrait (taken by Rae)When I arrive at the Female Revolution in Dance and Art (F.R.I.D.A) project’s Saturday evening show at Hackney Wick it quickly becomes clear that this is not going to be another stuffy gallery opening.

Among the artists exhibiting is Pia Cabble, convincingly dressed as Frida Kahlo herself, who spends the evening live-painting a self portrait.

“My work is about harnessing female power through image,” she says. “If I can capture that, people will enjoy it. If they’re happy, I’m happy.”

The show is part of International Women’s Month, and draws together artists from across the world to promote women’s rights and challenge female stereotypes. Inspired by Mexican artist Frida Khalo – a feminist icon and human rights activist – the experimental event showcased live folk music, painting, spoken word, dance and theatre at the Cre8 Lifestyle Centre, Hackney Wick.

Patson Ncube, Cre8 curator and collaborator in the F.R.I.D.A. project said: “The inherent strength of women has always been a source of inspiration for artists and tonight we’re showcasing that from around the world.”

“We’ve got artists from Siberia, Guyana, Chile, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the UK and many other countries.”

The volunteer-led evening was conceived by Pia Cable, jazz singer-songwriter Bumi Thomas and Minna Salami, better known as Ms. Afropolitan, a commentator on African feminism, race and identity. Deena Tyson exhibited a kimono, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which explored women’s body image problems across different cultures.

“Women are often self-conscious of their own image and try to fit in. Actually, you’re not someone else’s image, you’re you.”

Throughout March, International Women’s Month will celebrate the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of women. International Women’s Day is on Friday 8.

“It’s been a fantastic evening,” Ncube added. “I was tired of your typical, private view evening. They’re too sterile. This was more interactive and fun. There are families and children.”

Deanna Tyson (left) and friend with her kimono "The Very Hungry..." (taken by Rae)Deanna Tyson - Kimono "The Very Hungry..." (taken by Rae)