The Butetown History and Arts Centre has launched a digital arts exhibition which contains numerous references to womanhood.
In 2010, the Women’s Arts Association created a competition asking for innovative proposals from artists wanting to learn about digital technology in relation to their art.
From this competition four female artists were chosen. Their works are now being shown at the Butetown History and Arts Centre alongside established digital artists, Mandy Nash and Catherine Lewis.
The winners of the competition were Rhian Haf, Jenni Steele, Julia Thomas and Clare Potter. Thomas, a multi-media visual artist and Potter, a poet and performer create an interactive artwork investigating the process of expressing ‘the unseen and the unspoken’.
As part of the ambitious project, the WAA sent the four artists on a five-day individualised master class to learn the craft of digital technology in relation to their art. The artists spent time with experienced groups to develop new skills and experiment.
Jenni Steele, a digital video artist, said of the experience: “As a result of the WWA master classes my work is now more accessible via the internet. I am collaborating with music specialists to develop sound technologies and music to compliment my film work."
One of Steele’s creations, Wavering, a video installation featuring music by Gerry Carter contains flickering shapes in a deserted promenade to “suggest the lingering hopes and traces of past visitors.”
This work illustrates the monotony of domestic life through its allusions to washing lines. The installation also shows the unexpected beauty present in the every day occurrences: the sound of the waves, a bird flying past, a train rushing through as a hint at modern life.
Another of her installations is Nightdresses, a video installation showing night dresses floating on a washing line on a summer’s evening. Steele said she was inspired by the old superstition that if you leave drying laundry on the washing line overnight, spirits will enter the clothes and possess them.
Throughout the exhibition there are inescapable themes of womanhood: domestic life, children, love, the act of losing one self when becoming a wife and mother. The exhibition is reminiscent of a time when women were just these things. There is an overwhelming and oppresive sense of the stifled lives experienced by women pre-sexual revolution.