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Girls Can: An IWD graffiti celebration of the ongoing breakdown of gender stereotypes

  • On International Women’s Day, Leake Street Arches will celebrate the ongoing breakdown of traditional gender stereotypes by encouraging women to try out the (still) male-dominated art form of graffiti
  • Female artist, SoFLY, will run a women’s graffiti workshop in partnership with MIND Lambeth & Southwark
  • SoFLY and a team of female graffiti artists will create a large ‘Girls Can…’ mural and invite members of the

    public to contribute to it

    This International Women’s Day, Leake Street Arches will be celebrating the ongoing breakdown of gender stereotypes by encouraging more women to try out graffiti (an art form that is still male-dominated).

    Inrecentyearstherehasbeensignificantprogressinwelcomingmorefemaleartistsintothegraffitiscene, although there is still a long way to go. Numerous female focused festivals (held in Leake Street Tunnel) and projects such as ‘Women and Walls’ (at Upfest in Bristol in 2018) have helped bring together female artists and shine a spotlight on their work but the graffiti world continues to be heavily dominated by men.

    So on International Women’s Day, SoFLY (a female artist who regularly adorns the walls of Leake Street with her work) and team of female graffiti artists will be running several activities to encourage more women to get into graffiti whilst celebrating how far women have come in breaking down previous gender stereotypes.

    In the early afternoon, SoFLY will lead a one hour women’s workshop in partnership with MIND Lambeth & Southwark, a charity that supports local residents facing mental health problems. Art therapy has long been recognised as a form psychotherapy that helps people better communicate and express themselves, and th is workshop will provide attendees with an introduction to the world of graffiti. SoFLY will demonstrate some of the basic graffiti skills and techniques before participants pick up their own spray cans. Having warmed up, they will be invited to contribute to the large public mural created by SoFLY and a team of fellow female artists.

    This large scale piece will centre around the message that ‘Girls Can…’ (a play on graffiti cans!) Members of the public will be invited to engage with the mural by adding symbols or words that represent skills and talents stereotypically considered male. This interactive artwork will change throughout the day as people make their contributions and will provide a perfect backdrop for Insta-feeds. The event will support the official International Women’s Day collaboration with International Women’s Crew which is encouraging female street artists around the world to share their work using #EachForEqual.

    SoFLY explains: “I am excited to be creating a piece of art for International Wo men’s Day reinforcing the message that women can do whatever they want in this world and embracing this year’s # EachForEqual theme. Working withawomen’ssupportgroupandinvolvingthemintheproductionisgoingtobeareallypositiveexperienceandI can’t wait for other women to get involved and express what GIRLS CAN do!”

    This activity is being held as part of #LeakeStreetLIVE, a free public events programme that celebrates urban culture through food, drink, paint and play at Leake Street Arches, underneath Waterloo Station. Bars and Restaurants will be open throughout the day for those wishing to stay for lunch, dinner or cocktails.

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