Wednesday 16 January 2019

The Hidden Pin Up #25 - Push Festival 2019

 Photo by Chris Payne

Happy new year everyone! The Hidden Pin Up began 2019 with a bang taking part in Push Festival at HOME Manchester this weekend just gone!

Push Festival is an annual celebration of the North West's creative talents, showcasing two weeks of exhibitions, events and screenings and we were thrilled to present our performance of burlesque/vogue/spoken word as part of the launch night to kick the whole thing off.

The Hidden Pin Up is a collaborative art project between myself and Manchester vogue house the House of Ghetto, an all female black dance troupe headed by house mother and choreographer Darren Pritchard. The work explores the history of the hidden and forgotten figure of the black pin up girl and investigates the legacy of stereotypes and racial fetishisation that still plagues women of colour today. You can read how the project developed by scrolling back through this very blog for The Hidden Pin Up posts numbered 1-25.

The launch night was fantastic, with many other artists taking to the stage in the gallery to recite poetry, sing and introduce their work to come over the festival. The Hidden Pin Up finished the evening, taking the audience by surprise when Lenai Russell our fabulous dancer appeared amidst them as the notes Miss Celie's Blue's filled the air.

Photo by Chris Payne

Lulled into a happy fuzz by free wine the audience watched the first half of the performance, which takes the form of a traditional fan dance, with big smiles on their faces and many whoops and cheers. I think the nuance and meaning of the work might have been lost on them until Justina Aina our spoken word artist swooped in and really shook things up.

Her delivery of the inappropriate and thoughtless phrases aimed at women of colour which were layered over Lenai's graceful vouging created a disconnect that demanded attention. I'm pleased to say that we got our desired effect and the piece was met with much positivity.

Photo by Chris Payne

 Sunday saw us delivering the performance again on an hourly basis in the gallery with an additional opportunity to view the fans and costume in detail and chat to us about the work afterwards.

With high numbers of attendees, it was really nice to see so many people want to find out more and share their own experiences. The words used in the performance and embroidered into the fans were a great opener to discussions about sexism and racial slurs and where the topic stands in 2019. We also had some lovely feedback from reviewers on twitter:

Push Festival 2019 was a brilliant experience for us and thanks again to HOME for the opportunity! We have plans to take The Hidden Pin Up further so watch this space! Until then, to find out more and see extra check out my Instagram and also treat yourself to a limited edition Hidden Pin Up badge or art work from my SHOP.