‘My Silence Will Never Protect Me’ – exhibition by Duncan of Jordanstone artist

Artist Janice Aitken, Reader and Associate Dean at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, has created 17 stunning photographic portraits for a new public exhibition celebrating women’s voices.

‘My Silence Will Never Protect Me’ is situated on the hoardings around Slessor Gardens and runs until May. For it, Janice photographed a diverse group of women and encouraged them to share stories about ways in which their voices have been silenced and how they have spoken out.

The exhibition forms part of the ‘Sharing Not Hoarding’ project and coincided with International Women’s Day and the 2018 Dundee Women’s Festival.

The portraits were shot in a dark studio with the women wearing black and lit stylistically. They were asked to utilise coloured fabrics as a way of exercising autonomy over their image and the women chose how much of themselves to reveal by obscuring parts of their body and face. For some, the fabric served as a veil or curtain to hide behind or as a comforting wrap and for others it was a flag to play with and dance with.

Janice said, “A lot of my work is designed to be accessible by people who wouldn't necessarily visit a gallery and I love the idea of using these public spaces to exhibit art. I am also very interested in subverting the way that women are often portrayed in public spaces like billboards. 

“The starting point for the work was the way in which women's voices are often not listened to and the title was inspired by a quote from poet Audre Lorde. The project enabled me to create work that celebrates women in all their diverse glory. The youngest is 15 and the oldest is in her 70s and all were gracious, imaginative and entered into the process of being photographed with great humour. I consider the photographs to be a collaboration between the subjects and me.”

The participants included University alumni Sarah Smart and Sekai Machache as well as Professors Divya Jindal Snape and Annalu Waller and Dr Anna Notaro.

Sharing Not Hoarding is an experimental public art project located in Dundee’s Waterfront Development. The project encourages public participation in the development by engaging with artists and community partners to reflect on Dundee’s past, present and future development.

 ‘My Silence Will Never Protect Me’ remains on display at Slessor Gardens until 11 May.

For media enquiries contact:
Grant Hill
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University of Dundee
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Email: g.hill@dundee.ac.uk