I spent a couple of hours at Miss Pokeno’s HQ exhibition a couple of Saturdays ago slowly and carefully burning nasty things that had been said to me over my life time along with the 100’s and 1000’s of others on a large oak dining table. It was quite an eye opener.
I don’t think I could have the concept of the show better than the journalist Bidisha for the HuffPostCulture blog.
“Over the last three years, Miss Pokeno has been working on a new creative enterprise, launching in a couple of weeks: a collaboration with a (possibly fictional, definitely enigmatic) militant feminist activist group, the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance. Think of the Sisters as both the embodiment and the source of bold, fiery and beautiful art, culminating in the exhibition, which is called HQ. Opening in a South London space, the works in HQ have been created in response to a brief to “glorify that which is too ugly for words”.
The works combine an intricate, polished Victoriana beauty with the zealous confidence of the Suffragists and the brash, vocal energy of our current age of global protest. There’s a seven foot round Ikea Hefner/Stringfellow type sleazo bed covered in satin, velvet flowers and bluebirds protesting bad and clichéd sex, a barricade of eight brightly coloured Slut Riot chairs celebrating young militant women and a tailored marching coat with pockets concealing glass hammers and silver plated wrecking bars. For the aesthetically-minded militant like me, who appreciates fine materials and good craft along with my pain and rage, there are some gorgeous emu eggs filled with gold paint for throwing, a red velvetFuck The Fucking Fuckers banner and Too Ugly for Words, a large oak school table that has been inscribed by visiting women (and will continue to be inscribed) with all the misogynist insults we’ve had hurled into our faces, “from skunt to toxic fanny to cunt like a sewer to sad sloppy menopausal mess”, surrounded by tall chairs (the chairs of the boys’ club) covered in black bags of shame which also represent the shadowiness of women’s absence, our shrouding and erasure from public life and from all tables of power.
HQ is a blazing, committed, politically fervent and exquisitely crafted show, the meeting point of gentility and profanity, skill and ardour. You can give no finer tribute than to visit, approach the table and carve your own insult.
HQ by Miss Pokeno and the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance will be showing at 1 Doyce Street, London SE1 0EU. HQ opens on November 14th for private views by appointment and will be open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm until 13th December 2013.”