#READART – “What Is A Woman?” – Artist Statement


“#READART” (R.A.) is an ongoing project merging the boundaries between Fine Art and literature and focuses on the power of subjectivity. R.A. becomes a visual embodiment of the “mark” which has “inexhaustible access to redefinition” (Derrida, Signature Event Context). R.A. is an immersive experience which surrenders the role of the author. All content is generated by the public and the artist (Niquelle LaTouche) acts only as the curator to reframe it within the limits of the limits of (RE)reading. The ambiguous titling “#READART” plays on the words “Read” (past tense) and “Read” (actively and present tense) to highlight the importance of the latter, in hopes to disassemble “fixed” terms and their meaning through actively (re)reading. The hashtag included in the title is concentrating on the social culture of trending topics, hashtags usually are used to define in the shortest way possible.  “#READART” avoids the popular habit of shortcutting and opens up a space to redefine. The three works: “#READ”, “(S)HE”  and “What Is a WOMAN?” question the purpose of literary discourse in order to construct identity, specifically gender.


“#READ” is a textual installation based upon works by Ghulam Mohammad, the installation plays with positive and negative space and uses the materiality of the words as the walls which shape the space which you wander through. The texts are submitted by the public answering what a woman is and are a literal boundary in the space. These walls act as the constructed boundaries of language. The literature remains suspended, an unfixed wall of sorts which represents its fragility. The cut out letters is to amplify the importance of removing the use of literature to define a “fixed” meaning. The shape, look and path of the space is enclosed by the literature and although the texts are submitted by several members of the public they all act to change and reshape the way in which one can encounter the series of works. The texts, much like language, forces the audience to conform to its pathway. “#READ” is a visual representation of the restriction and limits of literary construction.


“(S)HE” explores the limits of the sexed body. The sound sculpture uses audio from the public answering “What Is a WOMAN?” and displays the duality of interpretation. The sibling faces face outwards and although sharing the same blood (in the same way the male and female share the X chromosome), that difference of the ‘Y’ seemingly causes a social inequality. The characteristics of a female are often expressed in biological terms to differentiate her from the male. But sex, is not gender. Gender is unfixed thus this open space (which represents the mind) between the two outward faces explored in “(S)HE”. Both male and female bodies answer what it means to be woman, the audio has frequent points of overlap in interpretation which shows the lack of importance of sex and how socially we often confuse gendering with biological difference. Gender is a room created in the mind, “(S)HE”  allows you to enter this space.

 “What Is a WOMAN?”

 “What Is a WOMAN?” is focalised around the role of the curator in the art experience. With artist Chantal Miller of ChantiMedia as stimuli, this piece focuses on self-definition. Niquelle LaTouche has reframed and appropriated submissions from several members of the public and incorporated their interpretations into randomised groupings. Each book will be framing 4 submissions and no grouping will be the same which is focused on the idea of reading. Although all framed within the bounds of the same books the contents are different, much like that of a woman. The various visual interpretations act as a physical (de)construction of the word “Woman” and the reframing has placed the works within the realms of literary boundaries. R.A. encourages people to “write themselves” (Virginia Woolf, Room of one’s Own) as only through self-definition can we encourage an appreciation towards the plurality of interpretation.

The interactive elements of the works will function as symbols of the ephemeral nature of language and as a collection, “#READ” , “(S)HE”  and “What Is a WOMAN?” work to deconstruct complex discourse-based ideas. The works draw reference upon early feminist theory and seeks to transcend normative notions of supposedly “fixed” ideas. Avoiding conforming to the constructed boundaries of terms such as “WOMAN”, R.A. problematises the reinforcement of singular, stereotypical definitions which often marginalise.

Whitechapel Gallery Easter Project – Final brief 31/03/15

Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888

Last session of our Easter Project. A fourth of the group worked on this blog, writing the content, revisiting the last two days: our highlights and thoughts we had as we worked on this project. The rest revisited the pieces we’d made and worked on finding ways of merging the two distinctive responses made by each group together. This was a struggle as it meant combining two very different artists together. Shimul’s work is very conceptual whilst GM’s work about language and the material. For the final work of the project we reflected on all works created by all of the groups and were put in a 3rd set of people where we had chosen the medium form Ghulam Mohammed and the subject matter of Shimul Sahar based on our responses to their work. I took the hardest challenge as no one else wanted to do it because it seemed difficult which was the CUTOUTS technique of GM and the SHRINE.I finally got other volunteers to do it and we began to think.


We discussed for a while and chose the object we all wanted to shrine was technology as our generation cannot live without it . We used words to describe what we use it for and why it is something we love so much. I started to structure words around  a central point like that of GM’s work and cut out a negative space in the center to make a direct link to his works. This was a very time consuming thing to make so I chose to used a  three dimensional approach so that we can use written words as well to fill out the background card , the piece although probably the most rushed over the two days definitely embodied the theoretical and visual elements of both artists.

We used the positive and negative and it turned out quite visually strong. This is a starting point for my final piece for my Summer exhibition as I am going to use the answers from the public to make a GM inspired textual sculpture.



Shimul Sahar Artist & Response – Whitechapel Gallery Easter Project 31/03/15

tumblr_nmy8u9cZ981usl7pto3_540Aziz then introduced us to Bangladeshi artist Shimul Saha’s work. Shimul works mostly in sculpture/ model making and sometimes uses these in combination with video and photography. His work is driven by materials and our relation to everyday objects and is interested in furniture/domestic objects and how these have become gendered object. Simul Sahar I found a lot more difficult to relate specifically to my own practice becuase his works were more object specific however his use of re-appropriation was very relevant to my works although I am using language and identity. If I took the object as an extension of a form of physical identity and like Sahar re-appropriated it to become something else it was a physical embodiment of the same idea. tumblr_nmy8u9cZ981usl7pto2_540tumblr_nmy8u9cZ981usl7pto1_540The new brief:

tumblr_nmy9avUKC61usl7pto2_r1_1280As it was a group project and we all came from different ethnic and cultural background we wanted to find a household object we all had in common. That was the cot/crib. We all had had one of these but associated them with very different things in life, some celebratory , others abandonment but this unfamiliarity to each other was what we played with. Whitechapel Gallery31.3.15©Richard Eaton 07778 395888Initially we begun to made our cribs but I found doing this was not cohesive and we were disagreeing quite a lot with what the conceptual point was.so in search of a clearer and mutual object and went into the cupboards to find another option.Whitechapel Gallery31.3.15©Richard Eaton 07778 395888 I found balloons , and pens. A balloon changes in scale and has the capability to change scale with the release or influx of air and if you draw on a balloon that image also will change in scale. I thought this idea was more conceptually strong but asked for Aziz Sohail’s opinion just so I was not blowing my own trumpet, he agreed .Whitechapel Gallery31.3.15©Richard Eaton 07778 395888 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe went with the balloons and drew our cribs, I initially thought letting all of them deflate but a better idea is showing that blowing up, deflation, popping, and in and out and we made  the decision to make a video of our cribs in their state of change. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the time constraint given this was a tight squeeze and we filmed it on an iphone edited quickly on a mac.Whitechapel Gallery31.3.15©Richard Eaton 07778 395888Whitechapel Gallery31.3.15©Richard Eaton 07778 395888Whitechapel Gallery31.3.15©Richard Eaton 07778 395888A group member said: After our initial struggle on how to work together we decided to make a video using our mobile phones to film exploding balloons and confetti. In one of the clips you can see the balloon being inflated and deflated, the drawing on it gets bigger and smaller, showing how memories can stay fresh or get faint. The clips came together as one piece but with individual influences.Our concept changed over time which was interesting to think about but visually exciting as well.

Here is the final video : http://easterproject2015.tumblr.com/post/116646386684 

We then did a showing and presented back our ideas and intentions to the whole group. It was helpful to do this to understand that simplicity can also be very effective and on a low budget.

Whitechapel Gallery31.3.15©Richard Eaton 07778 395888
Whitechapel Gallery31.3.15©Richard Eaton 07778 395888

Ghulam Mohammad Artist & Response – Whitechapel Gallery Easter Project 30/03/2015

Ghulam Mohammed (Artist) Mohammad’s work used the materiality of the word to challenge the notions of identity such as language and his small scale sculptural pieces using cut out words I found very relevant to my practice as it is something I am fond of doing myself. by literally using words as art. Sohail explained the divide in languages in Pakistan and the relevance of Mohammad’s work in its current state in Pakistan. These works were challenging social constructions of language. tumblr_nmwpq3kUqK1usl7pto1_540tumblr_nmwpq3kUqK1usl7pto2_540tumblr_nmwpq3kUqK1usl7pto3_540tumblr_nmwpq3kUqK1usl7pto4_540 We were sent a brief from the artist:tumblr_nmy1dnt7NB1usl7pto1_1280tumblr_nmy2q6lU4q1usl7pto5_1280Although the brief was very vague we chose to pick apart the important words in the quote.  After several discussions we deciphered what i meant to have a language to us as a group and realised the relationships  between the languages is something we wanted to explore further. We stated to think about how the roots of language overlap as well as the similar bases of languages and how they relate to one and other and wanted to embody this in a visual representation. tumblr_nmy2q6lU4q1usl7pto4_540 We decided to incorporate the opening words “language is all pervasive” and wrote it out in several languages, the hopes were to then use these different languages an make a sculptural piece similar to GM. We adopted GM’s cutting out of letters OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand his use of positive and negative space , the window was near to us and I tried OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAan experiment with the light to represent both positive and negative and we based our work on the windows with the hollow letter up on the glass with light shining through. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtumblr_nmr879vy3J1usl7pto3_r1_540tumblr_nmr879vy3J1usl7pto8_r1_1280 There were piece of string with matchsticks (an ephemeral object I have used in my WAX work) to represent the people which use the language and their relationships to each other, the people are either closely or more abstractly related due to the difference in the tension of the ribbon. Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888 Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888 Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA tumblr_nmr879vy3J1usl7pto1_1280 and the cut out pieces on the floor as an extension of the “lost” translation of letters that mean nothing as they all stood in the same pool of characters.Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Our piece was conceptually strong and this cutting out method I will adopt in my own practice with the entries from the public for ReadArt. This was a great exercise to experiment with ways to dismantle fixed ideas such as languagetumblr_nmy59zU1c01usl7pto3_1280,

We presented back to the group and explained our ideas and intentions, it was well received and has a lot of room to be developed.

Whitechapel Gallery Easter project 30-31st March 2015

I responded to the call out:


Take part in this free two-day project with artists in residence Ghulam Mohammad and Shimul Saha.

Work closely with the artists in the creative studio, learn new skills, see behind-the-scenes of the Whitechapel Gallery and get inspired.

Ghulam Mohammad lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan, his practice explores how societies and people interact through language. Taking words cut-out from books he transforms them into intricate sculptural collages. Shimul Saha, based in Bangladesh, is interested in the materials and objects we encounter in our everyday experience. Fusing together sculpture, video and animation he highlights political and psychological issues in our surroundings.

Easter holiday project 2015 is part of the gallery’s youth programme. Open to people aged 15 – 21 from across London it offers the chance to explore contemporary art, meet creative professionals and open up career paths.

See the blog from Easter holiday project 2014 here.

Ages 15-21 only.

To book email: Duchampandsons@whitechapelgallery.org

 Supported by the British Council Connections Through Culture Programme

as the practice of the artists seemed very relevant to my Summer development and as I was still undecided on material matter it was important to get involved with a project like this to test out possible works in a more professional setting outside the department.

We had several ice breaker activities to get familiar with the range of people on the course as it would be the people which we would work collaboratively with over the next 2 days.

Activities included Blind drawing:Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888and group games to just gain group energy and relax.

Whitechapel Gallery 31.3.15 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888

Aziz Sohail (curator)

The artists did not attend physically as there was problems with visa’s but Pakistani curator, Aziz  Sohail shared his curatorial experiences with the group and was personal friends with Ghulam Mohammed which helped us fulfill his breif. Sohail works in Pakistan and USA and was the lead on the project alongside Paul Crook (Duchamp and sons.) Luckily Aziz was in the country for a curatorial residency at the New Art Gallery in Walsall and was invited to work with us! We were introduced to the notion of curating in context where Aziz gave an example of how his exhibition ‘Islam Contemporary’ which opened at the height of the Boston Marathon bombings aftermath highlighted what it means to be Islamic and different ways of negotiating and broadening this identity. The themes of identity and challenging what is means to be Muslim.His curating was his practice and as i had made the intentional decision to make a more curatorial stance for “#ReadArt- What is a Woman?”  it was vital in getting to see a more experienced curator’s process. Sohail understood that accepting works from the public to answer a very important societal question during a time when the word Muslim was clouded with a lot of hatred was a reflection of himself not necessarily the works exhibited, he had the authorship over all the works and the message the exhibition put forward. this type of challenging of social markers is something my “What is a Woman?” seeks to do.

I definitely observed the ways in which Sohail interprets a brief such as making Muslim a new viewed word by deconstructing popular notions,