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.