Highlights from this year’s undergraduate degree show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee, Scotland.
A couch shaped like a sanitary towel, a wall of tongues, a comic about more than a dozen women named ‘Hilda’, a table covered in lightly jangling china bowls… there was so much artwork for a feminist arts zine like ours to enjoy at this year’s DJCAD degree show.
Many of the artists we liked were exploring sensitive and personal topics in a particularly sincere way. Craig Black collaborated with his mother on his show, in an attempt to thank her for the supportive role she’s had in his life, while Laura Monaghan made a comic about her relationship with her fiancé. Others, like Esther Farrell & Katie Stott, used installation and text-heavy textile art to discuss mental health and memory.
In a particularly forthright piece, Christina Inkster used her own period blood to highlight the domestic abuse experienced by her grandmother. Domestic abuse was also the subject matter for Laura Dendy, who built a metal cage and staged photographs within it. This resonated with Christina, who said: “I used to think of my gran as a caged bird. I didn’t know if what I felt was relevant until I got involved with the work of other women here. It’s good to know people are thinking about things in a similar way.” This feeling of having a shared conversation was reinforced by recurring motifs (like comfortable underwear) and techniques (such as casting body parts) as seen in the work of Eilidh Mitchell, Janet Cameron & Sandra Schneider.
In the illustration department Robyn Glendinning made a short comic ‘Girl in the Pink Dress’ about a teenage girl’s relationship with her body, while Rory Carson attempted to tell the stories of a multitude of fictional women. He explained: “I think I really like writing female characters because I feel I identify with them more than the standard straight male characters with their manly tears. In the ‘Hilda’ book I really wanted to write about different kinds of women living all different kinds of lives.”
One student tackling the ‘different lives of women’ directly was Rachael Farquharson in the product design department, who developed an app called Mama Map to help connect new mothers with places they could breastfeed. In contrast, retired primary teacher Diana Moonie was literally living a different kind of life – spending a year perfecting her table of china bowls, that created a sonic landscape when the viewer stepped onto her custom made raised platform for a closer look.
In many ways the work we liked was just work that was frank, honest, open & kind of charming. Mainly the work of female students (the majority of art school graduates), the show had a soft charm sometimes lacking in other years. We’re looking forward to comparing it to the Edinburgh College of Art Degree show on May 28.
Words: Ana Hine
Images: Eilidh Mitchell, Christina Inkster, Sandra Schneider, Janet Cameron, Craig Black, Diana Moonie
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