Until Tuesday 8th April, Gallery North is set to host a timely exhibition of works by British artist Monica Ross at the Northumbria University Gallery, Newcastle. Timely because this is pioneering, socially-engaged art practice: when Monica Ross died in 2013, she left an influential body of feminist and performative art that spanned forty years and has profound significance for contemporary art and society.
Monica Ross responded to the issues of her day. She responded loud and clear through early feminist collaborative works, drawings made at Greenham common in the 1980s, poster designs for the anti-nuclear movement and works relating to the writings of Walter Benjamin. Ross made her first tape-slide work Stop She Said in the context of the miners’ strike, the Falklands war and the Thatcher government. This feminist artist and organiser used video, drawing, installation, text and performance to convey her message – she also co-established the Sister Seven group with other movers and shakers of her time, which operated as a national network for the distribution of poster art and performances in church halls, libraries, on the streets and at peace camps including Greenham common.
In 2008, she performed the first of 60 recitations as an act of memory to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Monica Ross had something to say and always found the perfect medium to say it: she can inspire and challenge us today through this exhibition to find our own voice. After all, we have plenty to shout about.