The Monica Sjöö Curatorial Collective are a group of art historians, curators and academics and supporters who are all admirers of the artist and activist Monica Sjöö’s work and want her place to be finally recognized, as like so many women artists, she has been neglected for too long.
Working collaboratively to recuperate and re-present, within a diverse range of understandings, the expanded practice of Monica Sjöö: Artist, feminist activist, writer, scholar of Goddess cultures and eco feminist.

 Currently

STOP THE WAR!

Monica Sjöö was a peace activist all her life and would have been fully involved campaigning against the Russian invaders in Ukraine. 

The MSCC condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and  the courageous and valiant peoples of the Ukraine in their life and death struggle. 
 
Please help by donating for  humanitarian needs in Ukraine. Direct link to UNICEF for donations.

Artist Su Fahy (MSCC) and one of our artists in residence, Patricia Brien have marked the 40 th anniversary of Greenham Common Peace Camp in 2022 by making a short film Performing Resistance: Magnoxia a River Haunting (2022).

The film premiered at the Conjuring Creativity Conference in Stockholm in November Conjuringcreativity.org and will feature at different venues across 2023/24 concluding its tour at The Goddess Conference 2024 the theme being GAIA (Mother Earth).

Performing Resistance was inspired by Monica Sjöö’s book Spiral Journey published
in 2018 where she writes about her sense of connection to our sacred landscapes
and her support for Greenham Common Peace Camp and many campaigns for
Gaia, and our environment echoing the feelings of campaigners at both conferences
for the people COP15 and COP27 in the year of 2022.

The film Performing Resistance: Magnoxia, a River Haunting (2022) can be viewed here online: https://youtu.be/YcyFa4rBu7E

The film Performing Resistance: Magnoxia, a River Haunting (2022)

Performing Resistance: Letters to Monica Sjöö 2022

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Embrace the Base, when the Greenham Common Peace Camp Women and supporters encircled the Base, we are launching our Performing Resistance:Letters to Monica Sjoo – to reflect on the themes of women’s empowerment, the campaign against nuclear weapons and right to protest being still relevant today 40years on.

We have received letters from writers, poets ,visual artists and activists inspired by the artist, activist, eco-feminist Monioca Sjöö. The Letters are proof of the legacy of activism that has inspired so many over the years since the camp was set up. A clear protest for peace – as opposed to nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons in our landscapes.

Follow the readings of the letter on MSCC Instagram: www.instagram.com/monica_sjoo/

Monica Sjöö created this calligram below as a poster to celebrate the circling of the base using visualisation to enact an event that stays in our minds in these times. 

Monica Sjöö exhibition at Moderna Museet, Stockholm in Spring 2023

Moderna Museet, Stockholm  13th of May – 18th of October  2023

In the spring of 2023, Moderna Museet in Stockholm will present the first major survey exhibition of the Swedish artist, activist, writer and eco-feminist Monica Sjöö. This is first institutional solo presentation on Sjöö’s work and will explore the artist’s deep engagement with artistic, political and eco-feminist practice that chimes with many challenges today. 

Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Modern Art Oxford in collaboration

The exhibition is organized in close collaboration with Modern Art Oxford, where it will be on view 18 November 2023–25 February 2024. A monographic catalogue published by Modern Art Oxford and Moderna Museet will accompany the exhibition. Link to Moderna Museet Stockholm

2022 marking her legacy (1938-2005) 

Our legacy artist, activist and writer Monica Sjöö is celebrated with a green plaque dedicated to her artistic legacy in the Port City of Bristol living, painting campaigning and writing in Clifton in the 60s and early 70s.

The plaque has been initiated by The Monica Sjöö Curatorial Collective in association with Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society CHIS and her family.

On November 19th 2022 the plaque was inaugurated, with a short talk by Dr Sue Tate, followed by the dedication by the Lord-Lieutenant of the City & County of Bristol, Mrs Peaches Golding OBE CStJ.

The Green Plaque is placed outside Dragon Workshop in Clifton Village. A welcome addition to mark a ’sense of place‘ for Monica Sjöö in Bristol’s Bohemia as it is historically known for its diverse and talented residents of the 60s/70s. The artist, writer and eco-feminist activist Monica Sjöö lived for some years in Princess Victoria Street where a CHIS commemorative plaque will be dedicated.

The plaque we hope will then mark her residency in the city and create new conversations about Her life and work.

Instagram videos from the inauguration:

Instagram.com/p/ClY2VuRolK9/
Instagram.com/p/ClgtW2TI7UR/
Instagram.com/p/ClOaUuXoyDb/

Artist in Residence for September – Beverley Skinner

Our Artist in Residence this month is featuring the legacy artist Beverley Skinner friend and exhibiting woman artist with Monica Sjoo, for the month of September. Beverley exhibited her work with Monica at the Womanpower Exhibition circa 1975 and also in the Woman Magic Touring Exhibition in the 70’s.

Beverley Skinner (1938-1999) was born in America. She studied at Hammersmith Art College, London, and later lived in Cromer, Norfolk and Bristol.

Both Beverley Skinner, and Monica Sjöö travelled together and exhibited at Bristol Art College, Kulturhuset Stockholm, Sweden Malmä Arts Hall, Stockholm, Sweden Great Georges Project, Liverpool, UK. 

Beverley Skinners work, is as contemporary today, as it was back in 1968 when she first started painting ‘Black and White Madonna and Children’,  with its vibrant colours, conceptual subject matter, diverse loving message, – is an incredible sight to see.

Beverley’s work and further information is featured in the University of Bristol Special Collections at feministarchivesouth.org.uk and we will be featuring her paintings over the month of September to raise awareness of her work and contribution to group exhibitions of women artists.

Source: Monica Sjöö L&L Facebook Page

Beverley Skinner, left, with Monica Sjöö, taken at the "5 women artists - Images of Womanpower" Exhibition circa 1970s. Source: Monica Sjöö L&L Facebook Page
Beverley Skinner carrying a painting across the exhibition floor, with Monica Sjöö in the background. Source: Monica Sjöö L&L Facebook page

Below: Black and White Madonna and Children, by Beverley Skinner (1938-1999). The painting took 30 years (1968-1998) to finish, from 1998 until 2022, it had been in storage. “My paintings are here to help this world, to become a kinder and a happier place to be” Beverley Skinner, 1994

.Our Artist in Residence in this month of August is Evie Rey Artist poet and musician @evierey_art Poem The Woman Lovers ©️Evie Rey 2022

Instagram curator for August – Multidisciplinary Artist Evie Rey

Evie Rey is an identifying queer, lesbian woman who strives to create art, which openly celebrates and challenges identity. Not ‘woman enough’ or ’too much woman’, two things she was often told as an emerging queer woman; two things that help form the foundation of her art. Evie Rey’s work acknowledges the tidal wave of resilience and courage required to be queer (and a woman). She is an LGBTQ+ storyteller.

Although themes of sexuality and gender are mostly always the focus, she explores other areas of social activism, including politics and social constructs. Her use of medium includes graphite, watercolours, film, photography and sculpture, often combining mediums to create layered meaning and perceptions.

As a multidisciplinary artist, Evie Rey also explores her activism through spoken-word poetry, performing across Wales and Bristol.

More about Evie Rey here: evemreynolds.wixsite.com/eviereyart
Follow Evie Rey at: www.instagram.com/evierey_art/

Earthwoman - Skywoman by Monica Sjöö. (1995)

Instagram curator for July – Jo Heckett artist in residence 

Jo Heckett is an Artist /Poet /Earth Worshipper and Envisioner of the Matriarchy.

More about Jo Heckett here: www.joheckett.com
Follow Jo Heckett at: www.instagram.com/joheckett

The Glitoris, SuperPink: The Antidote to Shame and She Told Me Her Name

One of the things Monica Sjöö explored was the interface between the Earth, the power of the feminine and the Divine. We have forgotten how to feel this in our bodies, and part of my intention is to help people, and women especially, re-member (put back into their bodies) and be re-minded (put back into their minds) the knowledge of their power when connected to the Earth.
 
These three paintings follow a similar exploration, using the vulva as symbolism for magic and spirituality.

SuperPink Keys to The Queendom

A series of keys made from re-used materials, eco glitter and semi precious stones. Each key is a focus for liberation, a reminder that freedom is always available, and a symbol of self sovereignty.   

Monica Sjöö – The time is now and it is overdue!

Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall
11 June – 10 September 2022 

Controversial paintings by artist-activist Monica Sjöö (1938-2005) with performances, reading groups, films, workshops and symposia led by contemporary artists and writers including Katy Deepwell, Minna Haukka, Harriet Hill, Sam Hodge, Islaja, Kristin Luke, Linda Persson, Rachel Fallons, Raju Rage, Anne Robinson, Tears|Ov.

 www.beaconsfield.ltd.uk

New Exhibition Summer 2022

The upcoming Monica Sjöö exhibition at Beaconsfield Gallery, Vauxhall, London, UK, is curated by Naomi Siderfin, David Crawforth and Minna Haukka. Naomi and David are the founders of Beaconsfield (the gallery space has been running for 25 years). Minna is a co-organiser of the mobile Feminist Library in London and also a Finnish artist in London.

The gallery curatorial team are staging a retrospective of Monica Sjöö’s paintings and poster art. The show is called, Monica Sjöö The Time is NOW And it is Overdue! The exhibition runs from the 11th June until 10th September 2022.

During the show the curatorial team has invited a selection of artists who have an affinity to Monica’s work and life outlook. There is also a planned seminar on the 25th of June with keynote speaker n.paradoxa founder Katy Deepwell and others are being confirmed. Details will be released on the website.

Artist Linda Persson was asked early on to participate. Her decision to contribute based on the power that Monica’s work holds, aims to emphasise not just her own practice but all those women, womxn and bodies that still fight the same battles of violation and disrespect. Linda has invited Rachel Fallon (Irish artist) www.rachelfallon.com who made the fantastic work Aprons of Power that were used in the protests for the repeal of the 8th amendment in Ireland quite recently. The programe includes a re-making of Aprons of Power as a workshop 17th June 12-5pm that Linda and Rachel will lead culminating in a live promenade march and performance from Beaconsfield in Lambeth alongside the Thames to Parliament.

On 16th June 2-5pm artists Sam Hodge and Linda Persson will lead a walk as a workshop around the area with participants to collect material (seeds, stuff from the River Thames) to grind down and make colour from. This will be made into larger textile works creating imblots/ Rorschach images. This will also be a collaboration.

Exhibition Preview Opening Performance by Linda Persson 

“I am staging a work on the opening 10th of June, first made for a solo-exhibition at Växjö Konsthall 2019/20 called To Breathe Through The Bones Of The Dead. Here I researched archives of Växjö old trial books on tolvmannaed of women accused, tortured and executed as ‘trollkona’- this was about 50 years before The Great Noise explode (Stora Oväsendet). And it focusses on women in Småland. I wanted to honour these women who were killed that never received a funeral and name them out loud. I think it is important to start to say those names, to make them into individuals, not just a group. The situation was governed by a man who was an entrepreneur really – and sold his work as being trained in Germany on how to find women who were in cohort with the Devil. The accusations start from gossip to things like ‘she was seen riding on a wolf at night naked’ or her evilness made the hoofs on the animals rot etc. Some of these women were independent and owned small parcels of land to have a farm. And the process did several things- it rendered these women to lose power over their bodies, and it also enabled bigger landlords in charge of their land for use to (for example) Iron mining.”

“I wanted to lift this as it has, in my view, created the situation we still suffer from today: women are not in charge of their bodies and the violation against the female/ other body is still very current themes, crazy and unbelievable. I was asking how is it possible that peoples’ attitudes can turn so quickly from civilisation to barbaric actions. I see the oppression of ‘other’ bodies as a ‘colonial’ grip that connects this to exploitation and disregard for the planet and the ongoing battle to change ways to improve the climate for our shared earth.”

“At the Monica Sjöö retrospective The Time is NOW and it is Overdue! I am re-staging the Memorial Ritual because it is current and scary times yet again. Rather than just doing my ‘own’ art and showing my ‘own’ stuff, I’ve also taken the opportunity to invite and share this with other artists that make work important in relation to the body and the climate.”

“The Memorial Ritual will this time also be processed with a live score from the all female group Tears | Ov that makes experimental sounds and are based in London: https://the-tapeworm.bandcamp.com/album/a-hopeless-place and the people joining me in the ritual will read out the names of the women alongside the making of rope to connect each glass bauble representing each woman creating a sort of necklace.”

Follow Linda Persson and her art at:  www.instagram.com/_linda_persson_/ or web: https://lcpersson.com/

Instagram curator for June – Deasy Bamford

Originally from a small dairy farm in Cornwall Deasy Bamford has worked across cultures and landscape for over 30 years, bringing peoples together through cultural sharing, music and the freedom to explore. She has established intercultural music festivals www.tribeofdoris.co.uk and youth and family projects www.imayla.co.uk that connect through culture, creativity nature and space. She is a roamer and lover of wild open spaces, mandala maker, photographer, spoken word and land artist. “I continue to delight in free education and inspiration, the meeting of hearts and minds especially through music and creativity and being an outright idealist, because what other option do we have to change the world of power and knowledge imbalances?”

Thanks for inviting me to have this residency, I’ve enjoyed looking through my work and remembering the inspiration and courage of Monica , to be her own artist. We often fail to recognise that these creative instincts we have are such a major part of our existence here on earth and allow us to find ways to belong here . I hope that my work has reached and touched others along the way. /Deasy

More about Deasy Bamford’s work here: www.deasybamford.com

Follow the MSCC Instagram: www.instagram.com/monica_sjoo/

The Pangolin and the last daffodil

The man stooped in the dark city lane
tenderly he picked a glowing daffodil.
Glancing up his eyes caught
the gleam of the last flower standing
Like a bee , he flew straight and landed
his fingers on its stem.
Would he really , I wondered, deny the neighbourhood
Their last daffodil?
Snap!
He did.
This is how we are destroying ourselves.

The shy elusive Pangolin
Is heading for extinction
They’re poached and trafficked
Across the world for taste and medication.
This little creature too special to survive
Is valued for it rarity
And thus condemned to die

Where is the noble thought
strong enough to staunch
the endless “I must have”.
Or must we watch and cry
Are we the fools who cannot choose
to adapt our ways and thrive?

Deasy Bamford

Radical Landscapes at Tate Liverpool
5 May – 4 September 2022

Monica Sjöö’s painting ‘The Earth is Our Mother’ is included in this interesting exhibition at Tate Liverpool about activism, trespass, and the climate emergency.

From rural raves in Castlemorton to anti-nuclear protests at Greenham Common, this exhibition presents a radical view of the British landscape in art.

Over 150 paintings, sculptures, photographs, films by artists including Jeremy Deller, Ingrid Pollard, Tanoa Sasraku, Derek Jarman, Hurvin Anderson, Claude Cahun, Alan Lodge and Monica Sjöö.

www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/radical-landscapes

Short film and Podcast from Nasjonalmuseet

Norwegian artist Inge Ås talks about art and activism in the 1970s and
her experience of seeing Monica Sjöös painting God Giving Birth in 1973. 

In the 1970s, Inge Ås left her studio as a reaction to what she calls a snobby and male-dominated art world, and instead started the lesbian printing company Sfinxa together with a number of other feminists. With posters, slogans and theater as weapons, they fought their battles with humor and punch.

This podcast called: Brytning – Break – The art of standing on the barricade, is about art and activism, and produced by the Norwegian National MuseumNasjonalmuseet.

The series offers personal encounters with art, architecture and design, with the host Gisle A. Gjevestad Agledahl. 

New Instagram curator for April – Angharad Iris 

Angharad Iris is a Bristol based ritual artist exploring themes of witchcraft, ceremony and folklore. Her work closely explores the seasons and landscapes, using a range of earth materials including sheep’s wool, natural fibers, human hair, menstrual blood, wood and stone. Angharad is a ceremonial textile maker and uses her woven pieces in ritual, weaving words, dance and music into her work. She is a Flutist, Harpist and a drum beater, using sound and movement to conjure magic into spaces.

Angharad explores the journey of a woman reclaiming the identity of a witch in the 21st Century, whilst living in the hustle of a city. Her work is a force of dispelling, after centuries of witch persecution and the global spread pandemic of violence against women and children. Her work is confronting to many, sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes invigorating. Her textiles evoke an ancient remembering of the old ways and a connection to mysticism and unseen forces.

You can follow Angharad’s work and journey here: www.instagram.com/angharad_iris and www.instagram.com/witch_weaver

Witches we rise. Poem by Angharad Iris as a response to circling as a coven under Monica Sjöös painting “Celebrating Ancient Celtic Wales/Cymru” (1993)

Witches we rise,

In great swathes of broken bones,

Mended wounds,

And torn memories,

With the red thread,

And the fine needle,

To slowly sew, slowly sew, slowly sew,

The wounds – in an attempt to find a place of healing.

We rise in the spaces of the liminal,

In the mysteries of the unseen,

In the dark spaces long forgotten,

Neglected and strewn to the wayside.

We circle with madness of mind,

In the moans and groans of the women,

Cast aside from the norms,

sounds emitted from ancient overtones – 

you’d say we are mad – lock her up – she’s a danger to society. A threat.

We gasp, 

we sob,

we wail,

we howl, 

– states imbued by the water buffalo, 

the deer matriarch,

skins that make the drum the mother of us all –

We rise in the sounds of the Goddess, our elders and foremothers,

In all her hues, her shades,

With sounds spiralling – infinite.

We rise as if in battle,

Morrigan, 

Cailleach,

Cerridwen,

Brigid,

Painting the landscape with aspects of earth herself- 

This is a space where grief is cracked open,

And just how the Morrgian circled on the battlefield,

We circle to invoke the raven,

The crow,

And the Black Fox,

the lore of our bones,

the lore of our blood,

Witches, we rise.

Monica Sjöö at The Altered Festival – When art meets activism 

The Altered Festival is the seedling of @hue_artivist many years ago, and finally came into bloom the week of the Spring Equinox, March 2022. The Altered Festival is an inclusive multicultural arts platform that embraces diverse perspectives and challenges cultural stereotypes. Our intention is to shine a light on the solutions available to people at this challenging time in Bristol and the world. We are looking to take the festival to Wales later on this year – so keep an eye out on our page: www.instagram.com/the_altered_festival

The festival spanned across ten 10 days within the centre of Bristol’s shopping capital at @keepartit studios. Art in the face of capitalism. Quite literally.

We had artists of all kinds exhibiting work within the studio – and performances within the shop window, aka ‘THE BOX’. The box, in all it’s symbolism became the stage in which dancers, wordsmiths, musicians, poets, painters and theatre performers all showcased their work – with the gaze of the shoppers passing by. Looks of curiosity and confusion. The box brought up a myriad of emotions and reactions in both the artists and the public. Something I will explore in my later posts.

But for now… Monica Sjöö. With thanks to the Monica Sjöö Curatorial Collective and Feminist Archive South, we exhibited four of Monica’s prints and a placard used as part of the MSCC climate change protest earlier on this year. Her bold prints a striking contrast to the myriad of hues in the studio spaces – vivid colours and ancient symbols drawing in curious passers by. Monica’s work has had, and continues to have, a major impact on my life – so to exhibit alongside my favourite artist was a deeply touching and overwhelming experience. A dream of mine. To showcase the work of a woman who’s impact is infinite – just like the spiral. With continued thanks to the MSCC for their support in making this happen. 

Blessed be the Goddess!
Angharad Iris 
You can follow Angharad’s work and journey here: www.instagram.com/angharad_iris and www.instagram.com/witch_weaver

Instagram curator for April – Angharad Iris 

In my final post, I want to explore the movement of Monica’s work – regardless of where her paintings or prints find themselves, the spirit of the work finds itself in the body, in nature, in spirit – whether we resist it or not.

Monica’s collection of work moves and shapes itself – and just like that – it’s hard to ignore Monica’s presence in the room. Her work, like an altar – devoted to the Goddess and woman – runs through us as an unseen force, a magik unclear, or often confronting to many. Images, symbols, markings all bearing an ancient mysticism, largely unwelcome in our current society. And yet… Monica Sjöö’s work still bears witness to something far bigger, far stronger than that of the visual impact – but an invocation – a surfacing of the ancient Goddess cultures. A deep remembering felt in our blood and bones.

And this is why the work of Monica Sjöö Curatorial Collective (MSCC) and the Feminist Archive South is key to keeping the movement, the shaping of Monica Sjöö’s work rising – like fire-tenders, burning embers of a fire that must be kept aflame. For Monica Sjöö’s work signals the reclamation of the Goddess – in a world where we are experiencing a globally spread ‘shadow’ pandemic of violence against women and girls – it’s the work of Monica Sjöö that truly reminds us of our power, our innate magik, a potent invocation of the Goddess.

Thank you MSCC for providing me with this wonderful opportunity to offer my words.
Blessed be the Goddess!
Angharad Iris 
www.instagram.com/angharad_iris and www.instagram.com/witch_weaver

Monica Sjöö (1938-2005)

New Instagram curator for Mars

Patricia Brien on the artwork – The Sheela Na Gig, Creation (1978)

Thanks to the Monica Sjöö Curatorial team for asking me to be guest Instagram curator for the month of March. A huge honour.

The Sheela Na Gig, Creation (1978) painting by Monica Sjöö is unapologetically focused on the great cosmic vagina, site of pleasure and creation. The world coming forth from the creation moment includes dancing birds celebrating with bare chested, sisters, arms entwined basking in the goodwill of the mother goddess.

I included this image in monoprint form from the Feminist Archive South together with 4 other monoprints in my recent exhibition ‘Invoking Absence’ (2021). The exhibition considered mineral layers, landscapes, waters and the invisible beings of place within a cycle of deep and neoteric time. The inclusion of Sjöö’s prints from the archive enabled a dialogue with goddess feminism, an area of practice that has drawn criticism from within some feminist quarters for being essentialist. But which has also been defended as part of a spiritual tradition that has been unfairly silenced too. 

I wanted to draw on narratives of ritual, land spirituality, sacred women’s business and mythologies which give direction to different facets of contemporary Western pagan thinking. For me the archival pieces were an important curatorial acknowledgement of the pioneering work of eco-feminist artists like Sjöö; a lineage which inspires artistic, creative and spiritual eco-activism today.

Patricia Brien, Curator
PhD Candidate Bath Spa University, Environmental Humanities / Curatorial Studies / Textiles Art
Instagram: @patricia_brien
www.patriciabrien.com

Follow the MSCC Instagram: www.instagram.com/monica_sjoo/

Ancient Yew Mother (1992) by Monica Sjöö.

Patricia Brien on the artwork – Ancient Yew Mother (1992)

I am preparing for an upcoming exhibition – Plant Communitas – and so I explored Monica Sjöö’s work looking specifically for the way in which she engaged with vegetal beings. There are several paintings which reference trees and sacred tree entities including the Forest People (1997), The Queen Tree of Avebury (1988) and Spirit of the Trees (1994), Tree Madonna (1992), Tree Spirits And Radiant Beings (1994), and The Bleeding Yew Mother (1985).

I chose Ancient Yew Mother (1992) because there’s a sense of dynamic gesture and movement in the trees, deep in the dark forest shadows. It is likely to be a sacred grove, not one to be trifled with either. The Yew tree itself is linked spiritually to the Tree of Life, an ancient mythological narrative which was connected with a female deity or mother goddess and the cycles of life and death.

The trees represented in Sjöö’s paintings are enspirited and animate entities, persons, plant kin and Sjöö reveals a keen reverence for their spiritual importance as part of a living other-than-human ecosystem. Female spirits and deities are embodied in the trees themselves and they are important landscape elements. What is interesting to me is that out of all the plant kindom, it is the trees with physical stature and significance that are incorporated into Sjöö’s paintings. I was perhaps looking for common plants and weeds that are used traditionally for healing, various ritual, seasonal significance etc, although there are references to mushrooms (fungi). Her vision is clearly largescale and land-based and there’s a sense of travelling through and with the land that emerges distinctly in these images. There were many sacred sites to engage with for Sjöö, a life’s work. The ‘domestic’ and common plants are there equally for other creative wise ones to work with.

Patricia Brien, Curator
PhD Candidate Bath Spa University, Environmental Humanities / Curatorial Studies / Textiles Art
Instagram: @patricia_brien
www.patriciabrien.com

Follow the MSCC Instagram: www.instagram.com/monica_sjoo/

Patricia Brien on the artwork –
Spirits Of The Earth Sky & Underworld (1996)

Balancing: With the Vernal Equinox. Sjöö’s Spirits of the Earth Sky and Underworld aligns with that cosmological moment of balance between day and night. The sensory delight of warm sun, bird song, and new green growth beckons as we ‘Persephone-like’ emerge from the cold underworlds. 

In Monica Sjöö’s painting the upper and lower worlds are equally, differently alive and everything has its place, overseen by the radiant presence of the mother goddess.

Patricia Brien, Curator
PhD Candidate Bath Spa University, Environmental Humanities / Curatorial Studies / Textiles Art
www.patriciabrien.com

Follow the MSCC Instagram: www.instagram.com/monica_sjoo/

Spirits Of The Earth Sky & Underworld (1996) by Monica Sjöö
Summerland (1996) by Monica Sjöö.

Patricia Brien on the artwork – Summerland (1996)

In my final week of this Monica Sjöö Archive residency, not only have I become really adept at adding a double umlaut over the Ös, but this last week of sunny, warm English weather has made me long for the relaxed, door-open living days of summer. A pilgrimage-lite might be in order. I’ve been wanting to walk St Jacques de Compostelle for too long now, but inspired by the pilgrimage lines and paths here, I think local is the perfect choice. I recently saw Jill Smith’s online presentation (with thanks to Su Fahy’s recommendation) and was inspired by her creative durational pilgrimages and dedicated pilgrim-artist’s life path. Sjöö and Smith were friends and walked and made sacred pilgrimages together too.

So, I knew when my eyes fixed my eyes on ‘Summerland’ (1996) that this had to be the final work of Sjöö to celebrate here.

 “Summerland is the land of the faeries and the dead, and this is my interpretation of the gateway into this realm of the White Goddess who carries the souls of the recent dead in Her great winged arms in a mantle of light…” [Sjöö, M (2004) Retrospective Exhibition Catalogue]

Many thanks to the Monica Sjöö Archive team in the UK and SE for this thought-provoking opportunity.

Dedicated to Pauline Maria.

Patricia Brien, Curator
PhD Candidate Bath Spa University, Environmental Humanities / Curatorial Studies / Textiles Art

New zine about the visionary Swedish artist Monica Sjöö

A zine published by Legion Projects about the visionary Swedish artist Monica Sjöö (1938-2005). The publication features full colour reproductions of her work and includes contextualising essays by Legion Projects, Ruth Lindley, Sue Tate, Rupert White, as well as Monica’s own writings.

Monica Sjöö spent most of her life in Bristol and Wales, and was deeply engaged with the landscape around her. Her paintings show Britain’s sacred sites as portals to the ancient past, of which she also wrote about extensively. Her spirituality was intimately entwined with her politics, and she was an active member of grassroots initiatives throughout her life.

This zine is an introduction to Monica’s work, and is intended to recognise her important contribution to art, activism and spirituality in the UK and internationally.

Order a copy of the zine or buy a poster at the Legion Projects web shop: https://www.legionprojects.com/shop