Street View: To Bend & To ShapeStreet View
6th Sep 2022 to 15th Oct 2022
About The Exhibition
In this new work for Streetview, Clare Samuel explores the notion of the Self and the Other. Specifically, in relation to femininity and women’s bodies.
To Bend & To Shape draws from the history of witch hunts during the early-modern period – in both Europe and its colonies – viewed here as an attempt at systemic annihilation of the feminine Other. Not only does this work examine these histories. It also explores how folktales and contemporary myths around femininity have been influenced by this persecution of the Other, from the past to the present.
The exhibition’s name itself is inspired by this historical context. The word ‘witch’ comes from the Indo-European root word ‘wic,’ meaning to bend or shape, referring to materials, reality or consciousness. The title ‘To Bend & To Shape’ was chosen to fit the themes of the work. It captures both the historical narrative behind the exhibition and alludes to the present context. For the exhibition also considers how women’s bodies adapt throughout life and in order to create life, and how beauty standards act to shape, control and transform women throughout their lives.
Samuel – originally from Northern Ireland and now based in Canada – uses portraiture, video and installation in her work to focus on the connection between the Self and Other, and notions of border and belonging. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the USA, Ireland and the United Kingdom, including in the 2011 Belfast Photo Festival and a solo show ‘It is, still’ at Context Gallery, Derry, in the same year.
‘It is fantastic to welcome Clare Samuel back to Belfast; And the project ‘To Bend & To Shape’ gives a contemporary feel to a heritage theme. Northern Ireland has a strong history of witchcraft, with the infamous Island Magee mass witch hunts of 1710-11 being the last in Ireland. Samuel’s work is both sensitive and beautiful.
Deirdre Robb, CEO Belfast Exposed
Clare Samuel is a visual artist from Northern Ireland, now living as a settler in Toronto, Canada, on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. She holds a BFA in Photography from Toronto Metropolitan (formerly Ryerson) University and an MFA from Concordia University, Montreal.
Samuel’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at A Space Gallery and The Varley Art Gallery in Toronto. Upcoming projects include a book publication with PhotoIreland TLP Editions and a solo exhibition at OBORO in Montreal. Her current work on grief, mental illness, and the parent-child dynamic is made possible by the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. She is the co-founder of Feminist Photography Network, a nexus for research on the relationship between feminism and lens-based media.
Thursday 13th October | 18:00 | Belfast ExposedFree
Belfast Exposed is funded by Belfast City Council and Arts Council Northern Ireland.