SHIVER PRESENTS: Lauren-marie haywood
Artists Statement: "Incorporating materials ranging from chocolate to marble dust into my work, I am able to create wondrous (and often edible) experiences that uplift black women; while simultaneously capturing the struggles of constructing a contemporary, black, female identity post-colonialism. Equipped with powerful storytelling techniques, and experience spanning a wide and unusual array of media, I am able to create playful, striking and – at times – unsettling works of art. I am always sure to maintain a sense of seriousness and dignity for the subjects depicted in my work, expansively employing humour to interrogate the situations in which many black women find themselves on a daily basis. Overall, my practice seeks to celebrate the intellect, habits of mind, and spirit that has survived within black women across borders and generations, rendering them immortal in pieces which will hopefully enrich many generations of black women to come. I work diligently to honour the tales of my ancestors through my practice: from the imparted wisdom of enslaved women who secretly plaited black rice into their hair for survival, to the courage of those at the Igbo landing, who chose death over bondage when walking into the ocean all those years ago. I strive to create thoughtprovoking paintings, sculptures, installations, and even performances, that offer powerful insights into the intersection between blackness and womanhood. In a reclamation of my own identity, I amplify the voices of those like me, painting black women back into their rightful place in British history.”
'Throne’ by Lauren-Marie Haywood
50cm x 50cm x 1.5cm
Acrylic and Schlag Leaf on Canvas
"This piece was inspired by a set of lyrics from an Alicia Keys song entitled, ‘She Don’t Really Care’ which, in essence, seeks to capture the regality of the everyday black women. The lyrics read “all along, I’ve ignored what I’ve always known; that the chair I’ve been sitting on is a throne. Perfection kneels at the seat of my soul.’ In this painting, I sought to convey that sense of royalty, shrouding an image of a black woman in layers of gold acrylic and schlag leaf to create the high shine and textured depth you see in this image."Shop Now
'BLK Features' by Lauren-Marie Haywood
Set of 3
Each 5cm x 5cm x 2.5cm approx.
Resin, Iron Filings, Brass Filings and Copper Filings
"These little cuties were casting experiments for a larger project that challenged the definition of blackness. What makes a person ‘Black’? Are defining elements of blackness limited to complexion? To a shared set of experiences? How do fixed perceptions of race limit us in our interaction of others, and even in our understanding of ourselves?"Shop Now
'Vessels' (Reimagined, bowls) by Lauren-Marie Haywood
13cm x 13cm x 3cmResin and Iron Filings
"The concept behind my larger piece of the same name was to celebrate the unique wisdom that is passed down between generations of black women. It sought to celebrate the millions of black women who have acted as vessels, including the elders in my life. Within them, they carry some phenomenal anecdotes, knowledge and histories. Many of these are of their own discovery and creation, but several have been passed down through generations – often verbally – and live on through those to whom they have been imparted. These elders harbour innumerable elements of tradition and heritage by which younger generations may be enlightened and enriched. Through them, we have the opportunity to delve deeper into discoveries of who we are and where we come from. They are our link to our origins; living, breathing vessels of knowledge. And they are celebrated within each of these trinket bowls. Store your most precious and treasured trinkets within them for safekeeping."Shop Now
'Vessels' (Reimagined, box) by Lauren-Marie Haywood
8cm x 8cm x 8cmResin and Copper Filings
"The concept behind my larger piece of the same name was to celebrate the unique wisdom that is passed down between generations of black women. It sought to celebrate the millions of black women who have acted as vessels, including the elders in my life.
Within them, they carry some phenomenal anecdotes, knowledge and histories. Man of these are of their own discovery and creation, but several have been passed down through generations – often verbally – and live on through those to whom they have been imparted. These elders harbour innumerable elements of tradition and heritage by which younger generations may be enlightened and enriched. Through them, we have the opportunity to delve deeper into discoveries of who we are and where we come from. They are our link to our origins; living, breathing vessels of knowledge. And they are celebrated within each of these trinket bowls. Store your most precious and treasured trinkets within them for safekeeping."
'I Eat Black Girls For Breakfast' by Lauren-Marie Haywood
Resin, Polymer Clay and Ceramic Bowls
"More literal and explicit in meaning than my past work, the pieces I worked on in 2019 explored some incredibly dark themes; specifically, objectification and sexualisation. Further building on my concept of Confectionery Portraiture, I created a series of sculptures depicting black body parts as food. Though the pieces themselves were actually created from inedible materials (clay, ceramic, and resin), I was very proud to have created mouth-wateringly realistic sculptures that proved to be so enticing, many viewers were compelled to take a bite - an act that is incredibly cannibalistic in nature.”Shop Now
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Though I was born and raised in East London, I am very lucky to have a few different places to call home. One of my favourites being the city of Santiago, capital of Chile, where I attended high school for the duration of my teenage years. The other being the South of the Netherlands, where I have visited my aunt and uncle every year since the age of six. Travel and exploration are such immense parts of my life, so being confined within the walls of my London home throughout the recent lockdowns has felt a bit strange.
WHAT IS YOUR ARTISTIC BACKGROUND?
I graduated from the University of Westminster’s Fine Art Mixed Media course during the summer of 2020, and I am immensely proud of everything I was able to achieve throughout my three years there. Prior to that, I was studying in Chile at an International High School where I was lucky enough to take some International Baccalaureate classes, which included IB Art. I think the experimentation I was pushed to pursue and the vast number of resources that were available to me while I was taking IB Art left me very well prepared and excited for what I could possibly accomplish at Westminster. It instilled within me a drive to push myself when it came to trying new processes and materials, and a desire to produce work to the highest standard I could possibly achieve – an ethic that I carried with me through Westminster and beyond.
What is/are your favourite mediums?
I really enjoy the process of moulding and casting, and have worked with a huge variety of materials in my exploration of that process. Some of my favourites include air drying clay and polymer clay, which I use to quickly bring my 3D ideas to life. I typically create moulds of these clay objects using silicone, and the cast copies in resin, chocolate, and even gelatine. I am particularly fascinated by the materiality of certain objects, and the things that their physical attributes can incite within us. My practice is not limited to three dimensional forms however. I also really enjoy traditional methods of drawing (with graphite and charcoal) and painting (with acrylics).
Do you have any musical influences that inspire your work? Or any particular artists/songs you like to listen to while working?
I’m more likely to put something from Netflix on in the background, but a lot of the theory behind my work is actually based on the lyrics of the sings I listen to when I’m not working. My piece entitled, “The Blacker the Berries” is based Kendrick Lamar’s song of a similar name, and the song by Billie Holiday by which Lamar’s song was inspired. In that piece, I quite literally present black women as blackberries hanging from vines, in reference to the lynchings referenced in Billie Holiday’s lyrics. The piece both celebrates dark skinned individuals by presenting them as desirable, and also confronts viewers with the truth behind the history of what our ancestors were forced to endure purely because of their complexion. Another song that I particularly love is entitled “She Don’t Really Care,” by Alicia Keys. The last few lyrics of the song are as follows, “All along/I’ve ignored what I’ve always known/That the chair I’ve been sitting on is a throne/Perfection kneels at the seat of my soul.” These lyrics inspired my piece entitled, “Throne,” in which I sought to celebrate the regality and excellence that resides within every black woman. I take much of my inspiration from other forms of art that I consume, particularly that created by individuals whose experiences are similar to my own. Music is a great source of inspiration for me, and a lot of the songs that move me do so enough to influence the work that I produce.
Check out this playlist by Lauren to hear what she's listening to right now.
DO YOU HAVE ANY HABITS OR PERSONAL RITUALS YOU DO IN ORDER TO GET IN THE ZONE FOR CREATING?
I always sit down with either a cup of coffee or lemon and ginger tea when I’m about to start creating something. I currently don’t have a studio unfortunately, so I am primarily making things in my bedroom turned workshop, which has proven to be a bit of a challenge. It has been really nice to be able to work in such a comfortable, private and familiar space though. One of my primary goals for this year is to finally start renting a studio space that feels just as homely and chilled as my current room. Hopefully it will also challenge me to be a bit more productive in the coming year!
This past 2 years have been chaotic to say the least, with times changing so rapidly and our lives being shaken up dramatically, have you noticed any changes in your creative process or mindset?
I think that, like most people in 2020/21, I have been pushed to connect with friends, family and colleagues in unconventional and socially distant ways. I’ve had more than my fair share of Zoom meetings over the course of the past twelve months, and there was a period where I felt as though I was forever replying to emails and messages. What this pandemic has brought me though is a really fantastic sense of community and connection. I’ve been able to meet some incredible people (from both creative and non-creative backgrounds) and I have also been lucky enough to build a small community of people whose work I adore, and who have supported me in my practice immensely in return. Practically every emerging artist, curator, and gallerist is in the same position at the moment, and it’s so great that everyone is coming together to form such a huge network of creatives supporting one another. I actually felt a bit lost after graduating from University, and wasn’t too sure how exactly I was going to proceed in my career as an artist. The way we have collectively had to adapt to the pandemic has definitely changed that mindset for me. It has given me a lot of faith in other creatives, in myself, and in the fact that any situation can be made the most of.
HOW DID THE LOCKDOWN'S AFFECT YOU CREATIVELY?
To be completely honest, I hadn't used my time throughout lockdown to be quite as creative as I would have liked. I found it a bit hard to stay motivated enough to produce much, and as I am now a key worker, I also had to balance my time for being creative with a full time job. I count my blessings every day though. I am incredibly lucky under the current circumstances to have the means to continue pursuing all of my artistic dreams. I have been taking continued breaks, both from work and from social media, in an attempt to keep myself centred and relaxed.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH WITH YOUR WORK?
I really hope that I am able to both educate and inspire people with my work, specifically black women. The theory behind every piece is rooted in both culture and history, from which we should draw strength, wisdom, and most importantly, knowledge of how we can and must change. From the enslaved women of Suriname, who passed down knowledge of how to plait rice into the hair for survival, to the sacrifice of those in the Zong Massacre, who chose death over enslavement when they stepped into the ocean all those years ago. I want to empower those like me to understand our intergenerational strength and to know our worth. I want everyone to understand where many of the misconceptions and internalised prejudices regarding black women come from, and why we must work hard to overcome them. I sincerely hope that every piece I create exudes the power to incite the change of which I speak.
WHAT DOES ART/YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS MEAN TO YOU?
Issues of race have affected me, and continue to affect me, in many aspects of my life. I decided a long time ago that, rather than spending my days frustrated by the attitudes and systems I didn’t have the power to change, I would instead focus on the things that were actually within my power to alter. I have been fascinated with materials as simple as paper and glue for as long as I can remember, and the notion that I could create something or modify something with my own two hands has always seemed incredibly powerful to me. It still fascinates me to this day that I am able to transform a lump of clay into something that holds meaning and the potential power to inspire change within others. Through my work and my entire creative process, I am able to physically make the world I wish to see take form within my hands. I put my entire being into everything I create, and it means so much to me to have an outlet that is so versatile and so wide-reaching through which I can make my stories known.
We hope you enjoyed our exhibition with Lauren-Marie!
'I Eat Black Girls For Breakfast'
by Lauren-Marie Haywood
£69 - £71
'Vessels (Reimagined, bowls)'
by Lauren-Marie Haywood
by Lauren-Marie Haywood
by Lauren-Marie Haywood
See our first
See our first