DJCAD Degree Show ‘16

Highlights from this year’s undergraduate degree show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee, Scotland. 

A couch shaped like a sanitary towel, a wall of tongues, a comic about more than a dozen women named ‘Hilda’, a table covered in lightly jangling china bowls... there is so much artwork for a feminist arts zine like ours to enjoy at this year’s DJCAD degree show.

Many of the artists we like are exploring sensitive and personal topics in a particularly sincere way. Craig Black collaborates with his mother on his show, in an attempt to thank her for the supportive role she’s had in his life, while Laura Monaghan has made a comic about her relationship with her fiancé. Others, like Esther Farrell & Katie Stott, use installation and text-heavy textile art to discuss mental health and memory.

In a particularly forthright piece, Christina Inkster uses her own period blood to highlight the domestic abuse experienced by her grandmother. Domestic abuse is also the subject matter for Laura Dendy, who has built a metal cage and staged photographs within it. This resonates with Christina, who says: “I used to think of my gran as a caged bird. I didn’t know if what I felt was relevant until I got involved with the work of other women here. It’s good to know people are thinking about things in a similar way.”

This feeling of having a shared conversation is reinforced by reoccurring motifs (like comfortable underwear) and techniques (such as casting body parts) as seen in the work of Eilidh Mitchell, Janet Cameron & Sandra Schneider.

In the illustration department Robyn Glendinning has made a short comic ‘Girl in the Pink Dress’ about a teenage girl’s relationship with her body, while Rory Carson attempts to tell the stories of a multitude of fictional women. He explains: “I think I really like writing female characters because I feel I identify with them more than the standard straight male characters with their manly tears. In the ‘Hilda’ book I really wanted to write about different kinds of women living all different kinds of lives.”

One student tackling the ‘different lives of women’ directly is Rachael Farquharson in the product design department, who has developed an app called Mama Map to help connect new mothers with places they can breastfeed. In contrast, retired primary teacher Diana Moonie has literally been living a different kind of life - spending a year perfecting her table of china bowls, that create a sonic landscape when the viewer steps onto her custom made raised platform for a closer look.

In many ways the work we like is just work that’s frank, honest, open & kind of charming. Mainly the work of female students (the majority of art school graduates), the show has a soft charm sometimes lacking in other years. Make sure you make it down before it ends on Sunday 29 May at 4pm.

.Ana Hine

(Editor, Artificial Womb) 

This review will be printed in the June edition of Artificial Womb feminist arts zine, along with a wider selection of images. Subscribe as a Patreon to get access to the PDF or print versions when it's released.  

Image is of the work of Diana Moonie.