Women in Focus - National Museum Cardiff

‘Museums are awesome because everyone shuts the fuck up.’

A walk around a gallery can take me out of my own head and I leave feeling both inspired and far less frazzled than when I went in. But whilst I’ll happily travel to other cities to get my dose of culture I very rarely make time for it in my own.

With this oversight in mind and together with a friend also in need of a mid week jolly, we visited the engaging Women in Focus photography exhibition at the National Museum, Cardiff.

Women in Focus is a year long exhibition in two parts. Part One: Women Behind the Lens is on until 11 November 2018 and the collection includes work by Eve Arnold, Diane Arbus and the earliest known Welsh female photographer, Mary Dillwyn.  The female gaze is diverse, from early images of Welsh domestic life, to motherhood, violence, the miners’ strike…

 USA. Nevada. US actress Marilyn Monroe on the Nevada desert going over her lines for a difficult scene she is about to play with Clarke Gable in the film “The Misfits” by John Huston, 1960 © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

USA. Nevada. US actress Marilyn Monroe on the Nevada desert going over her lines for a difficult scene she is about to play with Clarke Gable in the film “The Misfits” by John Huston, 1960 © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

I was thrilled to see three large images by Clémentine Schneidermann from her ongoing Ffasiwn (the Welsh for fashion) series with Charlotte James. Charlotte is a stylist and casting director originally from Merthyr Tydfil (a stone’s throw from where I grew up) who I’ve only just discovered through her work with Helmut Lang. I’m obsessed, both with the images and trying to spot places I recognise.

For the Ffasiwn project they’ve teamed up with local youth groups to create the most unlikely and glorious photos. The image below is one of the three on display at the museum. Just how mesmerising is this portrait of Nia?

 Nia, The Gurnos, Merthyr. 2018 Photography by Clèmentine Schneidermann/Charlotte James

Nia, The Gurnos, Merthyr. 2018 Photography by Clèmentine Schneidermann/Charlotte James

See some of Charlotte’s work with Helmut Lang and the fabulous, life-affirming women from South Wales here. I’m in love with Dilys, the world’s oldest female skydiver, and I want her to be my life coach.

Lx 

Info:

Part One: Women Behind the Lens is on now until 11 November 2018

Part Two: Women in Front of the Lens is on 1 December 2018 - 9 June 2019.

There’s also a talk on 30 September by Lydia Pang, creative director of Refinery29, on Women in Photography “how they have been represented and mis-represented, celebrated and exploited by the industry, and to consider what has changed” that I might go to.

Let me know, here or on instagram, if you have recommendations for art in or around Cardiff.