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Gallery REVIEW: Bodyworks - ★★★★

An innovative exhibition led by a group of artists and writers from Fife, Central region and Edinburgh is exploring the feelings which women have about the marks on their bodies.

'Bodyworks' is a creative initiative to open up conversations with women’s groups, through writing and collage sessions, as to how they view the marks on their bodies, both natural and acquired. The four artists and one writer used this information to inspire their personal creative responses.

The works on display include paintings, fabric sculptures, manipulated mannequins, constructed textiles, artists’ books and poems. The artists taking part are Lesley Ratomska (Dunfermline), Carol Mason (Dunblane), Isabell Buenz (Edinburgh), Caroline McGonigal (Dalgety Bay) and writer Linda Menzies (Dunfermline).

The artists and writer engaged with a number of groups over the past few months, in Fife and Edinburgh – CRUSE Bereavement Services, Fife Women’s Tent, YMCA Edinburgh and The Bethany Christian Trust.

Artist and exhibition curator Lesley Ratomska explained: “The idea started over a conversation with a friend about the four dots tattooed on her body for radiography treatment for breast cancer. We wanted to discover how other women perceived the marks on their bodies, everything from birthmarks and scars to deliberate changes like tattoos and piercings, and how these marks impacted on their self-image and confidence.”

She added: “Many of the women we spoke with talked of conflicted feelings about the marks on their bodies. For example, Caesarean scars are a lasting reminder of the happy events of having babies. The discussions widened to include other body changes brought about by accidents, ageing and other life events.”

Comment from women taking part in the sessions include: “I’ve always felt hopeless in life.” “My scars made me feel happy because I then had my kids and they brought joy to my life. “I live with my scars and I can’t let them rule me.” “I like my curves, they show the journey I’ve been on.” “I like my tattoos, the remind me of special people and places. “I don’t like the fact that most of my clothes don’t fit!” “I have facial scars and a broken tooth where, when drunk, I fell on a railing; a scar on my breast which saved my life…a damaged tooth from a punch…a foot scar I got at work…”



Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries, until 31st December - FREE



Stewart - ★★★★

"A beautiful little gallery exhibition taking place in the Dunfermline library gallery this winter focusing on the female body image, scars and acceptance of appearance. This has clearly been a labour of love and you truly get a sense of the discussions and stories that have been shared on the path to creating this exhibition from the many groups who were involved. Definitely worth going along to see and a special shout out also to Linda Menzies words which appear throughout the gallery that hold a lovely Scottish wit.

This gallery will likely encourage a sense of community with those who can relate to the themes it explores whilst the rest of us can have a sense of the power the exhibition exhumes in it's boldness and it's vigour."

Life Lines by Caroline McGonigal

Life Lines (shadow video where body like forms merge and contort, misshapen by branches) track is ‘Celeste’ by Brian and Roger Eno Shown as part of a group exhibition 'Bodyworks'. The body and the natural world are so intertwined, we cannot exist without the other. Our bodies are reminiscent of landscape. Terrain that is scarred, changed and manipulated over time and events. Nature is where we seek respite from our troubles. “When you are in nature, you are in the least judgemental place you’ll ever be. Nature doesn’t care how you look, the colour of your skin, the colour of your hair, the clothes you wear, what gender you are.”


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