Some Women, Other Women and all the Bittermen
14 November 2014 – 9 January 2015
Join us for the launch on Thursday 13 November, 6-8pm. Refreshments served, all welcome.
The Tetley presents the premiere of Some Women, Other Women and all the Bittermen, a new multi-channel video by Rehana Zaman that considers the role of the worker under global capitalism.
Some Women, Other Women and all the Bittermen collides a fictional soap opera about a corporate takeover from the perspective of its employees with documentary fragments filmed by and about female migrant workers from the self led organisation Justice for Domestic Workers Leeds (J4DW Leeds). These six short films examine the shift in gendered and racially constructed worker relations from the 1980’s to the present day.
A father who insists the beer is off, a son in law who is caught red handed, a daughter who longs to shatter the glass ceiling and a workplace usurper. Storylines of an industry in transition have been drawn from interviews conducted by the artist and adapted to reflect the conventions of popular British ‘continuing’ dramas.
Each installment of the soap opera is punctuated by conversations between members of J4DW Leeds. These extracts see women from the group discuss their experience as domestic workers in private houses, both in the UK and beyond, whilst campaigning to politicise the domestic sphere as a site of labour, power and exchange. The candid footage filmed by the group over several meetings upturns conventional narratives of working class labour, popularised as exclusively white and male, in northern Europe.
Presented as a large-scale installation in first floor Atrium gallery this work is the culmination of a 12-month process involving research in The Tetley archive, interviews with ex Tetley’s Brewery workers, collaboration with screenwriter Joe Hepworth and workshops with women from Justice for Domestic Workers (Leeds) supported by curator and writer Amy Charlesworth, J4DW (London), Gill Park, Director of visual arts organisation Pavilion, artist Jo Dunn and seminal women’s collective Leeds Animation Workshop.
A series of events will extend discussion and materialise the research themes within the project.
Follow Zaman’s residency on her project blog: http://whereslefty.tumblr.com/
Thursday 20 November, 7pm
A selection of films from Leeds Animation Workshop around the theme of women and work, chosen by Terry Wragg.
The screening will be followed by an ‘in conversation’ event with Terry Wragg and Gill Park (director, Pavilion) both of whom have been working closely with J4DW Leeds and the artist, over the past year.
Saturday 6 December, 11am – 5pm
‘Consciousness Raising Group’ – A workshop led by Amy Charlesworth, Jenny Richards and Rehana Zaman
The workshop revisits the Consciousness Raising group format of the Womens Liberation Movement. This daylong session is born of experiences working with J4DW (Leeds and London) since 2013 and the independent research interests of each facilitator.
Film, text and discussion will draw out themes from the exhibition, from feminist readings of the soap opera to intersectionality, domesticity and labour. The format will be critically engaged to understand how it can connect our contemporary experiences of the labouring body in the fullest sense and think through new vicissitudes for the 21st century.
Sunday 7 December, 2 – 4pm
A Roundtable Discussion
Discussion reflecting on the processes of collaboration within Some Women Other Women and all the Bittermen with Marissa Begonia and members of J4DW (Leeds and London), ex Tetley’s Brewery employees, actors from the soap opera featured in the work and Rehana Zaman.
This project has been made possible through generous funding from Arts Council England and Elephant Trust.
Rehana Zaman is an artist based in London. Her videos and performances take up anecdotes, vignettes and short stories to examine moments of particular socio-political resonance. Narratives are often generated through collaboration with individuals and groups, a process that determines both the subject and structure of the work.
Solo commissions include ‘What an Artist Dies in Me/Exit the Emperor Nero’ OUTPOST, Norwich and ‘I, I, I, I and I’ Studio Voltaire, London (both 2013). Selected group exhibitions include Projections Art Rotterdam, NL (2014), Tenderpixel, London, Baro, São Paolo BR (2013), The Showroom, Whitechapel Gallery, Limoncello, London (all 2012). In 2013 Zaman was awarded a Gasworks International Fellowship to take up a residency in Lebanon. She completed her MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths in 2011 and was a LUX Associate Artist 2012/2013.
Justice for Domestic Workers (J4DW) was established in 2009 and is supported by Unite the Union. It is an organisation of migrant domestic workers who work in private houses in the UK, and is active in campaigning to restore and improve the rights for domestic workers and for making domestic work visible in society. Marissa Begonia, coordinator of Justice for Domestic Workers was involved in the ILO C189, ‘Decent Work for Domestic Workers’ negotiations at the invitation of TUC, Unite the Union and other campaigns involving J4DW
Gill Park, Pavilion
Gill Park is director of Pavilion, a visual arts commissioning organisation based in Leeds. Gill is undertaking doctoral research at the University of Leeds, exploring the impact and legacy of Pavilion’s emergence as the UK’s first feminist photography centre.
Terry Wragg, Leeds Animation Workshop
Terry Wragg is an artist and filmmaker. Recent projects include Painting the City Yellow, an interactive light and water installation across several sites in Sheffield for Yorkshire Festival 2014. She is also director and founder member of Leeds Animation Workshop, an independent, feminist co-operative producing and distributing animated films since 1976.
Amy Charlesworth teaches Historical and Critical Studies at Loughborough University, she is also Curator of Arts at Bradford University. Amy writes on the video essay as it relates to feminist art practice, photography as social document, mobility/migration and labour within the field of modern and contemporary art. She is currently writing a journal article titled: ‘From the factory to the home: re-visiting feminist ‘documentary’ aesthetics under globalized capital’
Jenny Richards works collaboratively with artists and curators. Current work includes: Manual Labours a collaborative research project with Sophie Hope exploring physical relationships to work; We Build Families: The aesthetics of Domestic Labour a text written with Marrissa Begonia and Louise Shelley on the work of Justice for Domestic Workers, and Home Economics a project investigating the politics of the domestic sphere and the home.