The Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre will mark International Women’s Day on 8 March 2016 with Layers, a new exhibition of portraits celebrating the stages of a woman’s life set against a backdrop of flowers. The free exhibition, which will run for the duration of WOW (8 – 13 March) and beyond in Southbank Centre’s Members Area in the Royal Festival Hall, will blossom into a live portrait and floral display on 12 March for the 1st birthday of the Women’s Equality Party which was born at WOW 2015. The occasion will also be celebrated with a simultaneous exhibition at the new London headquarters of the Women’s Equality Party.
Floral designer and curator Jo Wise said “I have always been fascinated by the ephemeral beauty of flowers and we are so excited to be exhibiting these images at such prestigious venues. Our main message for the project has always been celebration, so for these portraits to find a home as part of Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World Festival and at the Women’s Equality Party is truly wonderful.”
Women from various backgrounds – aged between 19 and 90 years – were photographed in front of an evolving flower wall during a three-week period. Layers of freshly picked British flowers were added to the wall as the project progressed. The added layers represent the growth and depth of wisdom women gain as life progresses. Co-curator Simon Tarrant said, “This project explores time passing, new growth and how our relationship with nature changes as we grow older.”
A collaboration between photographer Asiko, floral designer Jo Wise and make-up artist Jade Soar, ‘Layers’ features a diverse group of women including a scientist, a Team GB gold medal winner, a journalist, a musician, a videographer and a Councillor for City and Guilds. Asiko commented, “Layers is an exploration into the evolution of womanhood and how change is all part of the process.” Jade Soar elaborated, “The common thread that runs through all of the women is their belief in their path and their pride in who they are and what they do.”
‘Layers’ will also be exhibited as part of the Winter Pride Art Awards 2016 at the Islington Arts Factory from 15 -29 April 2016.