Working Girls

Chambers, Paula ORCID logoORCID: (2022) Working Girls. [Show/Exhibition]


Working Girls is a solo exhibition of sculptural works by Chambers. This exhibition comprises sculptural works, installation, and film -- and includes works created specifically for the Whitaker made in response to the history of women mill workers in the region. The film work 'Shame', included an original soundtrack by Erica Dawn Park created in collaboration with Chambers. The sound edit was undertaken by Pete Cunliffe. Research Process: The artworks in this exhibition are material-led investigations of women’s histories of ambivalence. In the months prior to the exhibition, Chambers worked with the Whitaker Museum’s object archive researching the material culture of working-class women from the region. Many of these objects were exhibited as part of Working Girls alongside the sculptural works in the galleries. Several of the pieces exhibited had been conceived and created as site specific works: 'Feminist Escape Route: Attempt No. 9', 'Feminist Escape Route: Attempt No. 13', and the two iterations of 'Her Magic Slippers'. In addition, a new film work was created specifically for the exhibition, was devised in response to the history of working-class women in the region, and shot on location in Rawtenstall. Research Insights: The primary concern that became apparent through the process of reading first-hand accounts of working-class women’s lives, was the idea of shame. Women consistently spoke of the shame they felt in relation to their bodily functions, their sexual drives, their hidden wants and needs, and about their poverty and lack of material wealth. It was this that inspired the creation of the film work 'Shame'. Dissemination: The exhibition was shown at the Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery, Rawtenstall, from 14th April until 12th June 2022, along with an artist’s talk held during the exhibition. The film 'Shame' is available on Vimeo and shared via social media.

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