“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman” – Virginia Woolf
ANON. is a new contemporary gallery concept launching at this debut show in February 2019. Conceived, curated and produced by Sarah Jayne Fell, ANON. is a democratic space for sharing and experiencing art beyond four walls. Not restricted to one venue or format, ANON. is designed as a pop-up gallery that lives both tangibly in physical space over a limited period of time, as well as virtually, online (Instagram @anonpopup), accessible for an indeterminate duration as a growing and limitless body of work. This, the debut show by ANON., is a curated group exhibition that embodies the Virginia Woolf quote that inspired the name. (In fact, the full and original quote goes: “I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”) As a tribute to the great writer’s lifelong fight for gender equality, the show is not restricted to art by women, nor is it an attempt to pay lip-service to a simplistic notion of “feminism” (or, pinkwashing). ANON. is about giving a voice to the voiceless, a name to the unnamed. It’s about celebrating creative expression and encouraging it as a fundamental human right and need. Artistic expression is at once freeing and defining, personal and universal, therapeutic and communicative, internal and external, emotive and physical, connective and introspective, intellectual and instinctual, boundary– breaking and definitive, a push and a pull; extremely vulnerable and yet so liberating. It’s the complexity and tension in these dynamics that make it so simple and clear: it is imperative for each of us to express ourselves and to be given the space to do so. Undeniably women have been marginalised historically in this basic human right. (A 1984 poster by the Guerilla Girls famously asked, Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum? – based on the statistic that less than 5% of their artists are women and yet 95% of the nudes are female.) And so this exhibition’s focus is on expressing female identity in all its complexity, having a conversation around female artistic expression as well as how women are represented in art, as well as more broadly prompting dialogue around gender – whether it be gender identity or fluidity, breaking stereotypes or reinforcing gender roles. All opinions have their place. The work selected for the show all speak to some aspect of this, and in the diversity, variety and incredible openness and vulnerability in so many of the submissions, ANON. comes together as a body of work that is powerful and compelling. I am humbled by the response I have had in just one month since putting this out into the world (over 250 submissions were received). I hope to host another show like this in the future and its success is something you can assist in by sharing with your friends, inviting your networks and of course, buying art! Giving ourselves permission to be vulnerable allows us to connect with one another. And so I encourage all of you to make art, and to support art.
Sarah Jayne Fell Curator & founder of ANON. firstname.lastname@example.org / +27 (0) 84 6222 486
Professor Sir Zanele Muholi, Lindeka Qampi, Nontsikelelo Veleko, Suzanne Duncan, Mareli Esterhuizen, Kilmany-Jo Liversage, Danielle Clough, Fabrica, Laura Wenman, Detroit Lee, Carol Hayward Fell, Kimon Bisogno, SaySay.Love, Mariëtte Kotzé, Greta Davis, Therese Mullins, René Yaffes, Christina Yaffes, Driekie van Wyk, Farah Hernandez, Kate Arthur, Jade Buccholtz, Jade Klara, Katya Wagner, Kate Soal, Ant de Klerk, Kylie Hepburn & Jacqui Cooks, Gino Bassi, Madeleine Bazil, Marelize Raubenheimer, Angus Begg (Humans of Cape Town) and Velt (Nicola Andrag) with live performances by Mamello Makhetha and Anonymous.