October 2, 2021

When Poverty and Patriarchy Are Woven Through Our Very Roots, Are We Ever Able to Disentangle Ourselves from Their Legacy?

Eilidh Reilly

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Sugar, metalShe's a Sweetie, 2021

This installation of sugar and metal borrows from the fairytale narrative to explore how poverty and patriarchy intertwine. The work conjures thoughts of childhood and homeliness, of commodity and ownership, of violence and cannibalism. Firmly entangled with the tradition of working-class woman as story-teller, there is a sense of magic and play in the work, an unstable beauty that appears to be melting away before your very eyes; like wandering through a dark and twisted Alice’s Wonderland. We experience all the sickly-sweet wonder of the contemporary Disney fairy-tale as we rejoice in the sparkling sugar, the light pouring into and reflecting off each sculpture, the smell of childhood and candy-floss in the air. But the longer we stay the more we witness the violence in the work, it comes in waves, like the nausea after a sweetie binge; this is when the sinister shapes of folklore and old wives tales take hold. And we realise that, here, we will not find our happily ever after.