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Camilla Stacey and Rose Hatcher on W.A.N.K., 'Pulling it Off' and Ladyfest.

Interview by Field Notes




With high profile retrospectives of female artists taking centre stage at Tate Modern this spring and a general impetus by art museums to highlight the careers of female artists, do you feel like this is a good time to be a woman artist?

Living in Cornwall, away from the ‘art world’ and fighting to create work and make a living under austerity measures means that high-profile retrospectives have a minimal impact on us. The trickle-down effect of more female artists in the public eye is welcome, but something that has yet to touch us directly.


The W.A.N.K. exhibition 'Pulling It Off' (pictures above and below) launched 2 weeks after the official founding of W.A.N.K., were the plans for an exhibition already in place?

We had been planning the exhibition for some time before the idea for W.A.N.K. came about. Saying that – we both work full time jobs, run art spaces and have a handful of personal projects each – needless to say we are experts at Pulling things Off at the last minute!


Can you tell us a bit about the exhibition and how you went about selecting the artists?

We both had a few key artists in mind when we first had the idea to create a show for IWD. We both wanted to show work which would be undeniably female – that is it would be drawing on female experience or related to issues which are faced by women from a woman’s perspective. We also wanted to show a range of mediums, and for the group of work to be strong, unapologetic and interesting for viewers of all ages, races and genders.


You have mentioned working on a ‘WANKifesto’, which members can contribute to. Can you tell us anything about the kind of aims that you’ll be building into this?

As well as championing equality and an open and inclusive attitude in the arts we are keen to develop some key aims for developing the network into a useful tool for practitioners, venues and other interested parties who would like to form partnerships across the county. We would also like the network to help promote the activities of our members, to support projects we feel are progressive and beneficial to Cornwall’s arts and create and inspire constructive criticism, healthy debate and critical thinking in our cultural sector.

Can a male artist join W.A.N.K. and would you ever consider showing work by a man under the W.A.N.K. banner?

Anyone can become a member of WANK regardless of gender or indeed artistic prowess!


What are your future plans for W.A.N.K? Are there anymore exhibitions or events on the horizon that we should be looking out for?

Coming up next will be Ladyfest Cornwall (Oct 10-11th) Ladyfest is a feminist arts and music festival that originally took place in Olympia, USA in 2000 and since then has seen different incarnations take place globally. This year Ladyfest Cornwall will be held in a variety of venues across Falmouth and Penryn. We had wanted this event to take place in multiple locations, as recog-nition of the dispersed nature of the county and the lack of access people have to events of this kind in Cornwall. At one point we talked about taking it on the road in a bus- however time and resources have meant that this year we are limiting the venues with the aim that next year we reach out further and work across the county.

Ladyfest reflects the d-i-y ethos that we have and as such we will be showing art and music, but also hosting workshops on a variety of things- from yoga to printmaking, zine making to dancing. Alongside the main event we will be curating an exhibition featuring selected WANK artists, and asking all WANK members who wish to open their studios for the weekend, to create a WANKtrail, it’s important for us that we promote our members and their work and this also means that dispersed locations can have some link and involvement to the festival.


Camilla Stacey is an artist and one quarter of the
Little Yellow House studio collective based on Lower Market St Penryn, Rose Hatcher is an artist and founder of The Fish Factory studios and gallery in Falmouth.