FRANfest roundup: 'Girl Space' exhibition opens this weekend at The Mill

Words by Letti K-Ewing

Inclusivity and idyllic safe spaces : curator Laura Gentgall describes putting on Girl Space in its second incarnation at The Mill for FRAN Festival

Image credit: Laura Gentgall and The Mill Adelaide

Image credit: Laura Gentgall and The Mill Adelaide

Adelaide-based artist, curator, and known enthusiast of the colour pink, Laura Gentgall, is preparing for her second installment of her all-female collective exhibition aptly named Girl SpaceArtistic works across varying mediums celebrating the multi-dimensionality of womanhood and the sanctity of female friendship are being exhibited at creative hub, The Mill.

This year, Gentgall’s Girl Space will feature the works of seven local artists. Artists Antonia Ditroia, Ban-She, Brianna Speight, Ellie Anderson, Indigo Cherry, Nina Haigh, and Sascha Tan hone their respective disciplines to provide avenues into the realms of their individual ‘girl spaces’ through both literal and abstract expressions. The exhibition is in affiliation with the annual South Australia-wide FRAN Festival, a ‘feminist art network’ being run throughout the months of August and September with the primary objective of elevating the voices and works of female identifying artists and creatives.

Laura had just finished hanging the exhibition’s works when I dropped into The Mill for a pre-show chat. She kindly walked me around, briefing me on each artist’s rendering of her imagined Girl Space.

“A lot of the artists’ ‘girl spaces’ [are] in the people they surround themselves with,” Laura said.
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On describing an idyllic ‘girl space,’ Laura highlighted the importance of inclusivity and friendliness within the gallery while looking to maintain a distinctive “feminine energy that is kind of hard to capture.” Just as significant as these inherently political factors is her emphasis of wanting the space to be ‘fun,’ which in itself is a political reclamation of the too-often demonised hyper femininity – just see the emboldening soft pink contrasted within large block lettering of the ‘Girl Space’ sign upon entering the exhibition. This is when I learned Laura’s passion for pink.

The show’s unapologetically bold titling is in direct cohorts with its content of provocative works. The participating artists have respectively intersected their personal experiences of gender identity with sexuality, race, and class. The entire collaborative mission and encouraged expression of female solidarity is an act of defiance, and these visually bold works reiterate this sentiment.

If you would like to help fund this uniquely safe space for fellow women-folk, Laura has also launched a gofundme campaign to fill the financial gap of putting on a show, which you can donate to in the lead up to and after the exhibition.

 

Girl Space’ opens on Friday 8 September at The Mill at 6pm with formalities kicking off at 7pm. The exhibition runs until Friday 22 September.

Follow the opening night event proceedings here

Follow Laura Gentgall on Instagram at @lauragentgall