When Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman" during the final presidential debate, the insult quickly morphed into a rallying cry for Clinton's camp. Less than a year later, it's tempting to look back on that moment as a relic of a better time; you know, when we weren't worried about the president taking the US into nuclear war with North Korea.
As a slogan, "Nasty Woman" took off in a fever: There are Nasty Women-inspired t-shirts, tote bags, and Scandal monologues. It's also the name of the global art movement founded by Roxanne Jackson and Jessamyn Fiore in New York, and the title of its debut art show in London.
"The first Nasty Women event was held in New York on 12th to 15th January 2017. Since then over 40 exhibitions have taken place in the USA alone," London curator Paige Hawley told Broadly. "We wanted to bring this spirit of creative activism to become a community in London."
"Holding Nasty Women's first exhibition in London is important as there's still a lot of work to do to protect and promote women's rights here in the UK," she added. "Women in the UK face a range of issues—from fighting for equal pay to better representation in business and politics to
abortion rights and everyday sexual harassment and the sexualization of women."
The ethos of the Nasty Women show, held in conjunction with Creative Debuts, is simple: It's an artistic gesture of solidarity in a world that seems increasingly determined to rollback women's rights. The open call for the London show drew a response from people from all over the globe, and 41 international artists were selected for exhibition in the show.
Their perspectives and backgrounds differ wildly, but many of the artists circle back to a few key issues: consent, sex, race, and suffocating beauty standards. Beirut-born Helen Zughaib, for instance, views Muslim women through a bold Pop Art lens; diorama artist Devon Urquhart creates striking anatomical art of vaginas superimposed over desert landscapes, and Brighton-based photographer Harley Kilburn's uncompromising nude portraits of her mother. The money raised from the show will go towards Rape Crisis England and Wales and Women for Women International, a charity that protects women's rights worldwide.
"The feminist art movement emerged in the late 1960s as part of the wider civil rights
Movement," Hawley explains. "Artists such as Suzanne Lacy felt the goal of the feminist art movement was to influence cultural attitudes and transform stereotypes. I believe these goals are still important and offer artists a space to express themselves, communicate important emotions, and showcase concepts that reveal the battle of equality and the struggles we have in today's society."
Nasty Women London x Creative Debuts runs from 21st – 24th September 2017 at The Black & White Building in Shoreditch, London.