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Toys for Survival

Mobilising playfulness and pleasure as a radical act within a history of women’s resistance, healing and growth, ​Toys for Survival considered art through the lens of toy making, proposing joy and play as radical forces of creative and energetic curiosity. This project, devised by Leah Miller-Biot, began life as a series of workshops for survivors of gender-based violence. Along with artist Maria de Lima, I was invited to create work in response to these workshops and the wider themes of the project, for display at the Glasgow Women's Library in 2020. 

I took Leah’s thought-work on the pleasure and healing potential of touch as a provocation. Where had I found moments of healing, and what might it mean to make space to examine them amidst a tide of ecological loss? Visiting the writings of artist and activist Aurora Levins Morales, who said “if I write about our bodies, I am writing about the land and what has been done to it”, I considered how embodied perception and sensation, when followed with a clear eye, might become a map with which to track ourselves through time. The printed text (which visitors were invited to take a copy of) and black & white photograph that together make up the work ‘Palm’ were offered as a chart of connections between singular, collective and more-than-human life cycles.

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