Pandora’s Book by Jan Morley

Pandora's book coverBritish artist Jan Morley will be presenting her artist book Pandora’s Book (handmade paper, 23 X 33 X 2 cm) at the GFEST 2011 Visual Arts Exhibition, which is coming up soon in London.

GFEST 2011 Visual Arts Exhibition

Dreamspace Gallery,
1-3 Dufferin Street,
London, EC1Y 8NA, UK
(press buzzer to enter)
Mon 7 Nov – Sat 19 Nov, 2011, 9am to 5:30pm, Sat: 10am to 5pm (Sunday Closed) ENTRY FREE
Mon 7 Nov: Private View: 6 to 8:30pm (by invitation)

Jan Morley explains: “Pandora’s Book is a book made from handmade paper. The cover has had fishnet stockings pressed into the paper which is sewn together and tied with a suspender belt fastener. Inside are 5 pieces of paper each with a quote from a feminist writer. Each piece of paper is illustrated to match the quote. This book was actually made 30 years ago whilst I was at college and before I knew I was a lesbian. What I find fascinating is that a lot of the quotes still hold true today and as a young feminist I agreed wholeheartedly with.”

In Pandora’s Book Jan Morley quotes among others Marge Piercy and Marilyn French:

“there is no difference
between being raped
and being run over by a truck
except that afterward
men ask if you enjoyed it” – Marge Piercy

“and there are so much easier ways to destroy a woman
you don’t have to rape or kill her you don’t even have to beat her
you can just marry her” – Marilyn French

Rape from Pandora's Book by Jan Morley

Rape, quote by Marge Piercy from Pandora’s Book by Jan Morley, 1982

Marry her from Pandora's Book by Jan Morley, 1982

Marry her, a quote by Marilyn French from Pandora’s Book by Jan Morley, 1982

About Jan Morley
Today Jan Morley works as a visual artist and a designer for the tableware industry. She runs Liberty Bodies, an online gay and lesbian gift shop, where she sells both her own designs and works of art by other artists. She tells me: “I see Liberty Bodies as a vehicle for celebrating ourselves in our diversity; whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, straight, fat, thin, whatever or whoever you are.”

Jan Morley was also taking part queer art exhibition of GFEST 2010, where her morally corrupting ‘Pussy Mug’ was among the queer art works, which caused controversy and were covered-up by the managers of the exhibition space at the Hampstead Town Hall in order to make the queer art exhibition safe for small children and their parents.

SPLAT from Pandora's Book by Jan Morley 1982

SPLAT, a quote by Marily French  from Pandora’s Book by Jan Morley, 1982

Dishes from Pandora's Book by Jan Morley, 1982

Dishes, a quote by Marily French from Pandora’s Book by Jan Morley, 1982

Sexism from Pandora's Book by Jan Morley, 1982

Sexism, a quote by Aspen from Pandora’s Book by Jan Morley, 1982

Related Link

Liberty Bodies, Jan Morley’s online shop

Reflections On Censorship Of Queer Art in London

Today I have asked gay male artist Jason Woodson and queer designer and lesbian Jan Morley for their reaction to the censorship of their queer artworks at GFEST 2010 visual arts exhibition at InterChange Studios, Hampstead Town Hall in London.

Jason Woodson:

Untitled (ThisKid) by Jason Woodson‘I take some solace in the fact that even the lofty Smithsonian removed a Wojnarowicz piece from their recent Hide/Seek exhibition as my particular piece is based on an earlier work by the same artist, called Untitled (This Kid). I am still flummoxed by the venue’s decision on my piece however. If their intent was not to offend parents with children of three or four, I cannot see what they were concerned about in my piece. It consists of a 400 word essay that would be beyond the reading level of any preschool aged child. And if it wasn’t the text, then what was so offensive about a rainbow coloured boy? I can only assume that it was not about protecting small impressionable children, but some kind of knee-jerk reaction in the venue’s board of management and the child protection officer who decided which works were suitable to be seen by the public. It is very hard not to classify this as an act of homophobia, as the venue thought it necessary to have a child protection officer involved in the process of post selection. It reinforces the idea that all LGBT people are somehow innately dangerous.
We are living in climate where our young people are killing themselves rather continue living in a world that seems to neither tolerate them or accept them. We had a chance with this exhibition to address that audience and instead of telling them that it gets better, we were handed a gag and willingly put it in our mouths’.

Photo above right: Untitled (ThisKid) by Jason Woodson.
Photo below: Jan Morley and her mug at the GFEST 2010 queer art exhibition

Jan Morley:

Jan Morley and her mug at the GFEST 2010 queer art exhibition‘Partly I wonder if some of it is due to censorship of nudity – I have this said to me a lot at Gay Pride events by Gay parents – that my artwork is not acceptable for their children and certainly the C word is not acceptable anywhere.
I find I get this sort of reaction a lot – especially around naked bodies. It seems to me that if people were more open about appreciating nakedness and having discussions about it then we would not get this kind of knee-jerk response. I am absolutely horrified that Jason’s piece was also covered up – what was offensive about it? My mug has different words for Vagina on it – including the word cunt – which is the whole point of the work in that I am trying to reclaim a perfectly good word that for some reason ( I have my suspicions why) is so offensive that it can’t be said on the BBC! Computer games are widely sold to youngsters depicting horrific violence and killing but show images of a naked body or images celebrating a LGBT theme and they are censored!
I fail to see what anyone could find offensive about any of the art and covering it in paper and masking tape is pathetic and sad and sends out a very strong message to any young people seeing it. Is it because it is LGBT art that it is so morally corrupting? Is it because there were naked bodies on display? Is it because there was the word cunt on a mug? We need answers’.

No Answers…

The Hampstead Town Hall will not answer any questions concerning the cencorship/ covering. Niranjan Karmatkar, GFEST, says: ‘We still do not know why it was thought necessary to cover for (their) sensitive audience members and their board has not responded despite our reminders’.

Related links

Jan Morley’s website
Jason Woodson’s website

Christmas Gift 2010: Morally Corrupting Mugs

Box, vulva, front bottom, cunt, fanny, pussy, cave, cloister, ring, nook, notch, slit, vent, wound, circle, chink, cranny, gash, beaver, crack, quim, fig, pudendum, yoni, minge, hole, vagina, pussy, fanny, twat, snatch, commodity, down there, muff, cunny, con, cave, breach, quaint, crease.

Pussy Portfolio Mug by Jan Morley, UK- This is what designer and
lesbian Jan Morley’s mugs read.

Jan Morley, UK, has been a designer for the last 15 years producing tableware designs. Her aim is to challenge boundaries and produce art with a difference, and she designs for modern queer consumers.

The Queer Mug Was Censored
Jan’s pussy mug got a thumbs down, when it was on display at GFEST’s queer arts exhibition 2010 and was among the queer artworks, which was covered-up / censored by the managers of InterChange Studios at Hampstead Town Hall in London, who wanted to make the queer art exhibition safe for small children and their parents.

If you want to buy one of Jan Morley’s morally corrupting mugs (Limited edition of 25 pieces) – please contact her at

Photo above left: Pussy Portfolio Mug by Jan Morley, UK

Censorship of Queer Art at GFEST in London

The managers of InterChange Studios demanded the exhibition to be
closed on Saturdays and that 10 of the exhibition’s 21 queer artworks, including works by Jan Morley, Corrine Bot, Kimi Tayler and Jason Woodson, to be covered up out side the official opening hours i.e. on
weekends and two evenings a week to make the room ‘safe’ for preschool children and their parents.

Queer Art covered-up at the GFEST 2010 visual arts exhibition

Exhibition view- queer art covered-up at the GFEST 2010. Photo by Jane Hoy

Wise Thoughts, which organises the annual GFEST festival, complied with the demand and ordered their exhibition volunteers to cover the censored artworks with wallpaper and tape. Exhibition volunteer Jane Hoysays in an article about thethe cover-up of the queer artworks: “I was very taken aback at this request and Subodh (Rathod, Gfest’s administrative director) told me that the management of the centre were concerned that the artwork might be seen by young people and their parents. It wasn’t clear to us why this was a problem, but it was clear that if we didn’t do it they would shut down the show.”
Queer artist Jason Woodson, who had his painting covered-up says: “The purpose of the exhibition was to open up a dialogue with the broader community to increase both knowledge and understanding of LGBT issues.
By capitulating to the venue’s demands, I feel that we not only lost an opportunity to achieve our goals, but also sent a very negative message to the general public. It was a clear signal to those who saw the covered works that our thoughts, fears and essentially our lives can and will be silenced. And I think worse still is that Wise Thoughts accepted these terms, on the artists’ behalf without any consultation.”

Niranjan Kamatkar, Artistic Director of GFEST Says:
Niranjan Karmatkar“GFEST – Gaywise FESTival is a showcase for LGBT / glbt or gay artworks, films and performances working in partnership with a range of London venues that help challenge preconceived notions and also among the hard to reach communities, which Hampstead Town Hall attracts. We opted for exhibiting the work as per the exhibition open times.
This was also in the hope that the town hall management would reconsider their decision to cover the artworks on the evenings, which they didn’t and insisted on covering the artworks on the two weekdays evenings and weekends – post the official exhibition closing times. It was a no-win and very traumatic last minute decision, either to take down the exhibition or be forced to comply with their decision while also managing the rest of festival activities.
Considering the lack of resources and recourse to an alternative venue, we opted for the latter and ensure that the exhibition goes ahead and viewers can make up their own mind whether the work warranted the censorship.
We have written to Hampstead Town Hall Trustees / board of management to seek their official response but it feels as if they are ignoring us. It has been a good learning process for us but also historic mainstream arts & community venues like this need to face the issues in more balanced way. In 2010, initiatives like GFEST need to encouraged by more mainstream venues rather than inflict censorship.

It was aweful but also as organisers we face huge pressures to effectively deliver the programme (within minimum and now diminishing budgets/ funds) & send a message that we want to work with mainstream venues (and which are accessed by hard to reach communities) where queer work needs to be shown – to combat the culture of homophobia & transphobia that still exists (either actively or passively) around us.”

Photo above right: Niranjan Karmatkar

Exhibition view, photo from the opening of GFEST 2010 visual arts exhibition.

Exhibition view, photo from the opening of GFEST 2010 visual arts exhibition. Artworks from left, painting by Jason Woodson, photos by Corrine Bot, photo by Beata Kosc and drawing by Helena Janecic. Photo: GFEST

Let's talk about homophobia and censorship of queer art at the GFEST2010 visual arts exhibition
I (editor of Feminine Moments) am sorry for Wise Thoughts. They do a fine and huge job to present queer art. This cover-up sounds as a pure case of homophobia and harassment of a queer arts festival and I will soon post more reactions to the censorship. If you want to comment on this article, feel free to write your comments below.

Related links
Corrine Bots website
Jan Morley’s website
Jason Woodson’s website

London: GFEST 2010 Visual Arts Exhibition

GFEST 2010 Visual Arts Exhibition Mon 8 to Fri 19 Nov 2010
Hampstead Town Hall / InterChange Studios
The Atrium, Hampstead Town Hall
213 Haverstock Hill
London NW3 4QP, UK (Entrance from footpath on Haverstock Hill)
Open 10.30AM to 5.30PM (Saturday & Sundays closed)
Entry Free

London’s premier LGBT cross-arts festival

GFEST is a platform for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and queer artists, organisations and venues to promote LGBT and queer arts. The GFEST 2010 Visual Arts Exhibition, which features works of art by gay artists from UK and other countries, is curated by Ajamu: photographer and Black LGB & T community archivist. Ali Zaidi: artist moving fluidly between different artforms and artistic director of motiroti. Campbell: accomplished filmmaker and programmer who runs BlackmanVision. Julie Bindel: well known writer, feminist and co-founder of the group Justice For Women. Julie Lomax: Director of Visual Arts, Arts Council England, London. Paul Burston: author, journalist and editor of Time Out Gay & Lesbian section. And Niranjan Kamatkar: artistic director of GFEST.

The selection panel wrote in their call for entries, art works ‘focusing on challenging LGBT and queer themes will be given preference’. The 2009 GEFEST art show had a strong presence of works of art made by women. This year seven women was selected for the 2010 exhibition.

The Artists

GFEST 2010 Visual Arts Exhibition features works of art by the following artists: Helena Janecic, Croatia, Silvia Ros, USA, Corrine Bot, Holland, Helen Churchill, UK, Jan Morley, UK, Kimi Tayler, UK, Be Kosc,  and gay male artists: David Ortega, Colin Hampden-White, Peter Gerrard, Maitree Siribon, Mike Bliss, Matthew Stradling, and Simon Croft.

This year the GFEST programme also features short film screenings, performances, workshops, talks and parties. For detailed info: