Veiled Women: What Does Feminism Mean to You?

An online exhibition consisting of the works of four female-identifying and North Eastern-based artists answering the question: what does feminism mean to you?

Curated by Elle Anderton

Background title page consisting of the exhibition's logo, with the title page consisting of an introduction to the exhibition and thanks to supporters.

Hello everyone and welcome to the exhibition:

Veiled Women: What Does Feminism Mean to you?


This following exhibition has been curated by myself, Elle Anderton (she/her), a Durham University undergraduate finalist, studying Classics at St. Chad's College.

Although the exhibition is primarily my own brain-child, the existence of this online space today would have been impossible without the guidance and mentorship of two special people. Curator of Contemporary Art, Alix Collingwood-Swinburn, and the Curator of Pink Collar Gallery, Michaela Wetherell's expertise and patience has been essential to the success of this exhibition.

Due to this exhibition's associations with the Durham University Student Art Prize 'Art School' 2021/22, the focus surrounds not only feminism, as the title suggests, but also the idea of 'hidden', which is the theme for this year's Art Prize. Hence the inclusion of the term 'veiled' into the title. Therefore, all artists have incorporated this 'hidden' aspect into the overarching feminist theme.


The aim of this exhibition is threefold.

Firstly, this exhibition aims at exposing you to four extremely talented artists. These artists are all female-identifying, and based in the North East, two extremely important factors I considered when recruiting artists. The North East has a vastly rich amount of artistic talent, which this exhibition is proof of, showing that artists do not have to be based in large cities such as London and Manchester to be successful.

Secondly, student engagement with art and feminism was a huge factor that shaped my ideas for this exhibition. As a student myself, I wanted to engage as wide a variety of students as possible with this exhibition, and especially the ideas of feminism you will see throughout. Therefore, a large portion of this exhibition showcases student answers to the question embedded into this exhibition: what does feminism mean to you?

Finally, this exhibition aims at engaging with individual and personal ideas of feminism, within the artworks supplied by contributing artists, student responses, and also your own thoughts and feelings. This is an incredibly important and relevant topic, not just for Durham University students and County Durham dwellers, but for the rest of the UK as well.

Feminism is the belief in equality of all sexes and genders, with the belief in challenging inequalities
- Durham University Biology student Emily.

The past year has been extremely difficult for women and female-identifying peoples within Durham University. In March 2021, Durham University graduate Sarah Everard was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered by a Metropolitan Police constable. Sarah's devastating death led to Durham hosting an online Reclaim the Night event on 15th March. More recently, there has been a shocking rise in spiking events happening in the nightclubs of Durham, as well as across the UK. As a result, Durham students have been forced to take action, along with many other universities across the UK, by boycotting all nightclubs on 26th October.

With these events occurring within quick succession of each other, it is harder than ever to see an equality for all sexes and genders, especially when women make up 71.6% of spiking cases.

If you are personally affected by these horrific events, please do not suffer in silence. Here are the links to some websites you may find helpful, including the university's support services, however you are encouraged to seek other forms of support as well: drinkaware.co.uk; everydaysexism.com; crowdfunder.co.uk; womensaid.org.uk


This exhibition is intended for everyone and anyone, whether you enjoy art and interact with feminism, or not. This is a space for you all to individually interact with the artwork exhibited, and to take a moment for yourself to reflect and answer the question: what does feminism mean to you? Therefore, I ask that you keep your comments respectful and kind.

Also, I would like to note that some of the themes within this exhibition may be upsetting for some people, with issues such as femicide being explored. I ask you to please put yourself and your own wellbeing first, and to leave this exhibition space at any time.

Overall, however, please enjoy this exhibition space! Thank you very much for your involvement :)

Elle x

Photograph of the Curator in the British Museum in front of an exhibit.

Headshot of the Curator, Elle Anderton. Photographed by Stephen Anderton.

Headshot of the Curator, Elle Anderton. Photographed by Stephen Anderton.

The logo acts as a combination of the female symbol with a question mark.

Logo for Veiled Women: What Does Feminism Mean to You? Designed by Elle Anderton.

Logo for Veiled Women: What Does Feminism Mean to You? Designed by Elle Anderton.

The logo acts as a combination of the female symbol with a question mark.

Logo for Veiled Women: What Does Feminism Mean to You? Designed by Elle Anderton.

Logo for Veiled Women: What Does Feminism Mean to You? Designed by Elle Anderton.

The logo acts as a combination of the female symbol with a question mark.

Logo for Veiled Women: What Does Feminism Mean to You? Designed by Elle Anderton.

Logo for Veiled Women: What Does Feminism Mean to You? Designed by Elle Anderton.

Student Responses

Student engagement has been an exceptionally important aspect of the Veiled Women exhibition.

Durham University students were encouraged to become involved with the Veiled Women exhibition, by answering the question: what does feminism mean to you?


"I wanted to ask students for their opinions, as I was interested in what their responses would be, as my fellow peers, and especially to what extent their opinions would reflect the interpretations of each artist in this exhibition. Also, since the Student Art Prize is focused around Durham University students, it was important to me that students be involved in my exhibition.

I think it is important for everyone, especially students and young people, to engage in feminism, no matter their prior engagement and experiences. I believe that if I can encourage further engagement through this exhibition, then I will have contributed positively to the feminist cause." Elle, Curator.


Keep scrolling for a selection of student responses, from across the academic years, and the various degree subjects, in Durham University. The response received was overwhelming, with quotes having to be selected at random. Please know that your contribution is much appreciated!

Finally, please make sure to keep these opinions in mind, as you'll find that a lot of the themes discussed will re-appear in the artworks shown after!

What does feminism mean to you? Feminism means the freedom to do whatever you want to with your own body by Hannah
A photograph of Viv holding a sign saying 'what does feminism mean to you?'

Durham University Geography student Viv.

Durham University Geography student Viv.

What does feminism mean to you? A way of recognising the structural inequalities faced by women, and also the differing inequalities for women by Viv
What does feminism mean to you? Feminism is about sisterhood. It is about reclaiming the things we have been told are inferior simply because they are feminine, rejecting the idea that difference means division, and relearning how we see other women. It is about learning to see strength in love and compassion instead of oppression. Protecting each other because when one of us bleeds, we all bleed by Annabeth
Photograph of Lucy holding a sign saying 'what does feminism mean to you?'

Durham University History student Lucy.

Durham University History student Lucy.

What does feminism mean to you? Feminism means to me equality, however you identify. Feminism is liberation from the structural oppressions that have denied the freedom of choice and self-expression by Lucy
What does feminism mean to you? Feminism to me means that everyone can live in a world where people aren't treated unfairly and cruelly based on others' (and their own) perception about their gender, sex, sexuality (especially regarding misogyny), as well as their actual gender or sex. I sometimes imagine what it would have been like if I didn't grow up with gender stereotypes and roles enforced onto me, if my loved ones (and anyone else affected by patriarchal ideas) didn't have to "endure" and "accept" so much of what they have to right now. If people can be seen for who they are by Ji
Photograph of Tilly holding a sign saying 'what does feminism mean to you?'

Durham University Chemistry student Tilly.

Durham University Chemistry student Tilly.

What does feminism mean to you? Equal treatment and opportunity for all genders by Tilly

Before you head into the exhibition space to view all of the amazing artworks displayed, please take a moment to think about what YOUR answer would be to the question: what does feminism mean to you?

Are 'our' collective ideas on feminism actually very similar?

Take a look at this short video clip below, to hear Elle's own answer to the question of the hour:

Curator Elle's answer to the question: what does feminism mean to you?

Curator Elle's answer to the question: what does feminism mean to you?

The Artworks

Much like the students who engaged with this exhibition, the artists involved were asked to submit an artwork surrounding the question: what does feminism mean to you?

As well as submitting their artwork, the artists were asked to create a short video explaining their artworks and how they relate to the question at hand.


"I decided to choose these four artists, not only because they are all based in the North East and identify as female, but for a number of other reasons also.

Firstly, I wanted to include artists who work in a wide variety of mediums, in order to broaden the exhibition out to include some non-traditional artforms. Therefore, as you will see, we have artists working with multimedia, collage and even incorporating some digital artforms, which I hope will make for an exciting array of pieces for you!

Secondly, they all focus to some extent on feminism in their pervious artistic practice, and so I thought it would be interesting to see what aspect of their personal feminism they would focus on, if posed the broad question of: what does feminism mean to you?" Elle, Curator.


As you move your way through this exhibition space, watch out for the the Curator's Notes at the end of each artist's profile, for some of Elle's personal insights into the works!

Please also note that the following artists are presented in alphabetical order.

Photograph of the artist Sofia Barton staring at the camera with her hand on her cheek, wearing a red top.

Headshot of Sofia Barton. Photographed by herself.

Headshot of Sofia Barton. Photographed by herself.

Savage by Sofia Barton (she/her)

Sofia Barton is a Punjabi multidisciplinary artist from the North East.

Since graduating from Edinburgh Napier University in 2012, she has worked as a professional photographer, documenting hidden histories and communities.

In 2017, Sofia transitioned into fine art, and has since worked with Nasty Women UK, Split Milk Gallery, Dockside Gallery, Wild in Art, Northern Pride and the BALTIC.

Sofia is fascinated by heritage, culture shifts, and feminism. She is an avid speaker for women's rights and ethnic minorities.

Sofia's submission for the Veiled Women exhibition is called Savage, which depicts the Hindu goddess Kali.

Sofia Barton's artwork. This consists of a depiction of the Hindu goddess Kali, with a predominantly red and brown colour pallet. Kali has wide eyes and a nose ring, and is sticking her tongue out. Her necklace consists of multiple vulva's acting as gems.

Sofia Barton, Savage (2021), 30 X 30 cm mixed media on canvas, image courtesy of the artist.

Sofia Barton, Savage (2021), 30 X 30 cm mixed media on canvas, image courtesy of the artist.

Interview with Sofia Barton for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Sofia Barton for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Sofia Barton for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Sofia Barton for Veiled Women (2021).

Curator's Note: My favourite part of Sofia's artwork is the necklace she gives the goddess Kali. Sofia explained that the necklace represents a vulva. Sofia decided to implement the vulva as a decorative element within her painting, so that the vulva would be associated with the idea of beauty. Sofia believes that the vulva is a beautiful aspect of a woman's body, and that it should be celebrated. This is exemplified within Sofia's painting, since each vulva is depicted as little gems around Kali's neck, which the goddess wears proudly.

Sofia Barton's artwork. This consists of a depiction of the Hindu goddess Kali, with a predominantly red and brown colour pallet. Kali has wide eyes and a nose ring, and is sticking her tongue out. Her necklace consists of multiple vulva's acting as gems.

Sofia Barton, Savage (2021), 30 X 30 cm mixed media on canvas, image courtesy of the artist.

Sofia Barton, Savage (2021), 30 X 30 cm mixed media on canvas, image courtesy of the artist.

Photograph of the artist Annabel Collins. She is against a white background and is staring into the camera. She is wearing a black cardigan over the top of a striped t-shirt.

Headshot of Annabel Collins. Photographed by herself.

Headshot of Annabel Collins. Photographed by herself.

CRYBABY by Annabel Collins (she/her)

Annabel Collins, a recent graduate in Fine Art from the Northern School of Art, is an artist based in the North East.

Annabel identifies as a multimedia artist, with a focus on combining and experimenting with a variety of materials and methods. She uses these materials and methods to create works that become visual representations of her identity.

Influenced by the representation of identity within a world obsessed with social media, Annabel's work provides a physical view of the 'self' she wishes to provide to the world, one that draws away from the influences of social media.

Annabel believes that through forms of social media, such as Instagram, we are allowing a 'self' that is not real to dominate. Therefore, we are creating a collection of images that represent our visual preferences as opposed to our authentic selves. Annabel is constantly considering aesthetics whilst observing this.

Annabel's work for the Veiled Women exhibition is called CRYBABY. In her piece, she explores the role of gender stereotypes within our society, specifically stereotypes towards women.

Annabel Collins' work CRYBABY consists of a collage-style composition using predominantly light blues, pinks and creams. There is some writing across the composition, however it is difficult to read and does not forma comprehensive sentence. There is also a sketch in black of a female-looking figure. The collage-like background consists of some floral patterns.

Annabel Collins, CRYBABY (2021), A1 mixed media on watercolour paper, Image courtesy of the artist.

Annabel Collins, CRYBABY (2021), A1 mixed media on watercolour paper, Image courtesy of the artist.

Interview with Annabel Collins for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Annabel Collins for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Annabel Collins for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Annabel Collins for Veiled Women (2021).

Curator's Note: One of my favourite parts of this work is its unapologetic tone. Annabel, as she points out herself, is not afraid of being a stereotypically 'girly' person, and in fact is proud that this is an aspect of her personality. This is a fresh approach to the idea of feminism, in that Annabel is suggesting that, although some people may perceive gender stereotyping to be anti-feminist, this is not always the case.

Annabel Collins' work CRYBABY consists of a collage-style composition using predominantly light blues, pinks and creams. There is some writing across the composition, however it is difficult to read and does not forma comprehensive sentence. There is also a sketch in black of a female-looking figure. The collage-like background consists of some floral patterns.

Annabel Collins, CRYBABY (2021), A1 mixed media on watercolour paper, Image courtesy of the artist.

Annabel Collins, CRYBABY (2021), A1 mixed media on watercolour paper, Image courtesy of the artist.

Headshot of the artist Amy Heald, where she is staring at the camera and is wearing a blue top with two necklaces.

Headshot of Amy Heald. Photographed by herself.

Headshot of Amy Heald. Photographed by herself.

The Angel of the Shades by Amy Heald (she/her)

Amy Heald is a painter and photographer from Teesside in the North East. Her work concentrates on representing forms of urban architecture, specifically local public houses.

Amy is interested in public houses because they are a representation of social life, and her interest stems from the idea of a working structure transforming into a social one, for example a bank turning into a pub.

Amy portrays these structures on multiple different scales within painting, where she likes to play around with the idea of colour and colour theory. Ways in which she incorporates this into her work include: exaggeration of colours, the use of colour opposites, and, the use of complimentary colours.

Amy's work also revolves heavily around ideas of identity in association with public houses, especially when comparing the identity of working buildings, with the identity of social buildings, and seeing how these compare and contrast.

Amy's submission for the Veiled Women exhibition is called The Angel of the Shades, which has a large focus on the depiction of a female figure from the exterior of The Shades Hotel in Hartlepool.

Amy Heald's work consists of a predominantly gold and brown colour pallet. Her work depicts a female figure with an outstretched arm, from a perspective situated below this figure, as if staring up at her. The female-figure's hair is blown out around her face and she wears a dress with lots of folds.

Amy Heald, The Angel of the Shades (2020), 6 X 7 ft oil and chalk on canvas, image courtesy of the artist.

Amy Heald, The Angel of the Shades (2020), 6 X 7 ft oil and chalk on canvas, image courtesy of the artist.

Interview with Amy Heald for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Amy Heald for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Amy Heald for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Amy Heald for Veiled Women (2021).

Curator's Note: I love the use of colour in this piece, which is not surprising when considering Amy's interest in colour. I believe that the use of browns and reds brings out the strength in this artwork, making the female figure depicted appear not as a fragile and feeble woman, but as a powerful and capable female figure. As a Classicist, also, I love the folds of the drapery which reminds me so much of ancient sculpture!

Amy Heald's work consists of a predominantly gold and brown colour pallet. Her work depicts a female figure with an outstretched arm, from a perspective situated below this figure, as if staring up at her. The female-figure's hair is blown out around her face and she wears a dress with lots of folds.

Amy Heald, The Angel of the Shades (2020), 6 X 7 ft oil and chalk on canvas, image courtesy of the artist.

Amy Heald, The Angel of the Shades (2020), 6 X 7 ft oil and chalk on canvas, image courtesy of the artist.

The headshot of the artist Slutmouth consists of her staring at the camera with large golden star earrings. The background consists of a floral-style wallpaper.

Headshot of Slutmouth. Photographed by herself.

Headshot of Slutmouth. Photographed by herself.

What it means to be a woman. by Slutmouth (she/her)

Slutmouth is a flamboyant, Hartlepool-based artist that focuses on rejecting the taboos we hold against our bodies, sexuality and mentality, by creating eclectic interiors and vibrant fashion pieces.

Slutmouth creates bespoke commissions for customers, ranging from album artwork to portraits and logo designs. She also curates events such as life-drawing, zine fairs, and embroidery classes.

In crating her works, Slutmouth anchors her surface designs by using traditional screen printing, digital and hand rendered illustrations, and combines these with traditional embroidery techniques.

Slutmouth's brand embodies punk and feminist ideologies, and conjures these ideas into gorgeous accessories that can be adorned on the body or in the home.

Slutmouth's work for the Veiled Women exhibition is called What it means to be a woman. and explores themes of femicide in our society. Please note, the voice-over explaining more about Slutmouth's submission is not spoken by the artist, but it does contain her own words.

Slutmouth's artwork consists of a collage-style composition of a mountainous landscape in the background, and an iceberg in the foreground. There are women's legs appearing from beneath the water around the iceberg, and a clothing line on the iceberg's tip. There is a male hand reaching down from the top of the painting, holding a female figure who is sprawled out.

Slutmouth, What it means to be a woman. (2021), A4 digital collage with illustrated elements, image courtesy of the artist.

Slutmouth, What it means to be a woman. (2021), A4 digital collage with illustrated elements, image courtesy of the artist.

Interview with Slutmouth for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Slutmouth for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Slutmouth for Veiled Women (2021).

Interview with Slutmouth for Veiled Women (2021).

Curator's Note: I believe that Slutmouth's use of collage as a medium for this piece is really interesting. By definition, collage is the assemblage and layering of different forms to create a new whole, and this is very metaphorical for the focus on femicide within this artwork. Here, Slutmouth has layered different aspects of her work together, such as the clothing line being layered on top of the mountainous backdrop, much like different feminist issues are layered on top of one another in our society, culminating in the tragedy of femicide. As Slutmouth herself said, enough is enough.

Slutmouth's artwork consists of a collage-style composition of a mountainous landscape in the background, and an iceberg in the foreground. There are women's legs appearing from beneath the water around the iceberg, and a clothing line on the iceberg's tip. There is a male hand reaching down from the top of the painting, holding a female figure who is sprawled out.

Slutmouth, What it means to be a woman. (2021), A4 digital collage with illustrated elements, image courtesy of the artist.

Slutmouth, What it means to be a woman. (2021), A4 digital collage with illustrated elements, image courtesy of the artist.

What Does Feminism Mean to You?

"Throughout this exhibition space, I hope you can agree that we have seen a variety of ideas in answer to the question: what does feminism mean to you? And this was exactly what I was hoping for when I decided to focus this exhibition on feminism." Elle, Curator.


Within our student responses, there are some similar trends brought up again and again, for example the idea of equality for all genders. This idea of equality is also seen within the artworks displayed, for example Amy Heald's piece expresses an attempt to equalise the figures on The Shades Hotel exterior.

However, there were also some more niche ideas displayed in the student responses, such as the idea that feminism opposes the brutalisation of women. This idea is presented within Slutmouth's piece, which displays a backlash against the ongoing femicide pandemic we are still battling today.

Therefore, as this exhibition has shown, our collective and communal ideas on feminism are very similar, which proves that our society can do better in its treatment of all genders. The hope is that, one day, when asked the question: what does feminism mean to you? we can collectively answer that feminism equates to our society, as finally, society has taken feminism seriously, after generations of struggle and tragedy.

Thank you for visiting this exhibition space, and please make sure to follow the Durham University Student Art Prize 'Art School' that will be launching this November!

Follow Durham University Arts on social media for more updates and information:

The contents of this exhibition are under copyright and images are not to be reproduced without permission. Exhibition design copyright of Durham University.

The contents of this exhibition are under copyright and images are not to be reproduced without permission. Exhibition design copyright of Durham University.