Waking the Witch: Old Ways, New Rites
Curator of Legion Projects Touring Exhibition with Matthew Robert-Hughes
The exhibition toured to Oriel Davies Gallery (Newtown, Wales), 20-21 Visual Arts Centre (Scunthorpe), Sidney Cooper Gallery (Canterbury) and Bonington Gallery (Nottingham).
Artists: Verity Birt, Anna Bunting-Branch, Nadine Byrne, Mary Beth Edelson, Fiona Finnegan, Blue Firth, Fourthland, Georgia Horgan. Ben Jeans Houghton, Serena Korda, Candice Lin, Katarzyna Majak, Monica Sjöö, Lucy Stein, Ayesha Tan Jones and Cathy Ward.
The British Isles have a particularly strong relationship to magic and the occult with the chants of witchcraft echoing throughout their history. The exhibition looked to the importance of craft, ritual and land on the practice of the ever shifting figure of the witch.
Traditional witchcraft has a strong connection to the earth with an intimate knowledge of herbs, plants and the elements - as well as the human body. As gatekeepers to altered consciousness witches have been both feared and sought out for their dealings with the unknown. Historically persecuted as an outsider, the witch has been taken on by artists as a challenging force to prevailing norms and as a symbol of dissidence. Looking to symbols, tools and the coven as a space for focusing collective intent, the artists in this exhibition explored the path of the witch as one for how we can connect with the earth and each other.
Contemporary art works were contextualised through archival material and periodicals, as well as loaned artefacts from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Glastonbury Goddess Temple, Feminist Archive South/Bristol University Special Collections and Rupert White/artcornwall.org.
Poster designs by Hugh Frost.
Images by Nadine Byrne, Lucy Stein, Katarzyna Majak, Fiona Finnegan, Fourthland & Cathy Ward.
The catalogue is available here.