Life and Politics of Monica Sjöö webinar

Above: The Goddess at Avebury and Silbury, Monica Sjöö, 1978.

On Sunday 22 November 2020, Sue Tate (Visiting Research Fellow, VCRG) took part in a webinar, The Personal is Political is Spiritual: Life and Politics of Monica Sjöö, organised by the Monica Sjöö Curatorial Collective (MSCC) with support from the VCRG.  Sue is a member of both groups and presented on the life and work of Sjöö. This event was part of the Being Human Festival, which is led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London in partnership with the AHRC and British Academy.

Monica Sjöö (1938-2005) made dynamic paintings both celebrating and grieving for the Great Goddess on whom she researched and published. Active in the women’s liberation, Goddess, eco-feminist and peace movements she campaigned, demonstrated and made paintings, banners and posters. “To me” she wrote “women’s spirituality and politics are not separate and ‘the personal is political’”.

Sue Tate is currently working with The Monica Sjöö Curatorial Collective (MSCC) to promote the work of the Bristol based Swedish artist. The webinar offered the opportunity to learn more about Monica Sjöö’s life and work, hear new researchers, Ruth Lindley and Kavita Maya, present their key ideas, and be immersed in imagery and evocative music. The webinar was attend by 142 people from all over the world; US, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.

To access a recording of the webinar click here

Left: Patriarchal Man (life sized), Monica Sjöö, 1967
Middle: Monica Sjöö
Right: Back Street Abortion – Women Seeking Freedom from Oppression, Monica Sjöö, 1968

The Monica Sjöö Curatorial Collective (MSCC) are a group of art historians, curators and academics who are all admirers of Monica Sjöö’s work and want her place to be finally recognised, as like so many women artists, she has been neglected for too long. The collective represent the family estate and works closely with archives held in the UK. They are working in collaboration with the Anna Nordlander Museum in northern Sweden and with the Modern Museum in Stockholm who are planning a major retrospective in 2022-3. This exhibition will tour to various locations in Europe and the UK, with the possibility of Tate St Ives as a venue. The collective will be curating an exhibition and a programme of events in Bristol during the tour.

Members of the Monica Sjöö Curatorial Collective include:

Jo Eliot, Co-ordinator (formerly Bristol University)
Dr. Sue Tate, Art Historian, Trustee of Feminist Archive South, Research Fellow, University of the West of England
Dr Amy Budd, Curator MOMA Oxford
Dr. Amy Tobin, Curator Kettles Yard and Newnham College 
Dr. Su Fahy, Bath History Workshop and Independent Curator 
Mariana Vodovosoff, Swedish Liaison/Consultant
Dr. Rachel Lindsay, Birmingham (PhD “The Personal Is Political Is Spiritual”: Feminism And Religion In Modern Britain”  Monica Sjöö as case study)
Matthew Hughes, Creative Director and Curator of Legion Projects.