CLARE LONGLEY

ARTIST AND THOUGHT PROVOKER

Clare Longley is an artist based in Melbourne. Prior to moving to the Victorian city to study painting at the Victorian College of the Arts, she grew up moving around in America before relocating to Perth with her family.

Clare’s bold and cheeky work spans a range of mediums including painting, collage, drawing, and designing project display spaces. Recently, she collaborated with fellow artists Prue Stent and Honey Long for an installation at Sugar Mountain Festival 2016. In preparation for their maiden installation as a trio, the artists felt it was important to create something that they all felt equally passionate about. Being friends, the creative process became a form of play and an open investigation into their own bodies. From there the Flush project took on its own life force, becoming a representation of the body in a way that expresses how it feels to exist in one and the internal, corporeal and often unspoken elements of what it means to be human:

“Although the work comes from a place of personal experience, we hope that it can help to shift the way we all see and talk about our bodies, especially women’s bodies. There is this language of repulsion around our natural bodily functions, parts, fluids; we want our work to get people thinking about why this is and how everyone can feel more comfortable within their own skin.”

Contributing to the feminist movement and discourse is very important to Clare, as she feels that much still needs to be done to achieve gender equality. Misogyny is still something that she herself has to battle with within her own profession, which she deals with by cultivating a strong support network:

“I tend to surround myself with people who care about gender equality and identify as feminists. Last month I was overseas for an artist’s residency and found my mentor to be extremely chauvinistic and belittling of me as a female artist. I realised this was the first time I had to actively stand up for myself against sexism in relation to my practice, and ended up leaving for this among other reasons. It was very emotional but also empowering as it helped me realise how important my friends are to me. We all support and encourage each other and definitely embrace dialogue on issues around gender inequality, but it’s important that it be constructive and open-minded.”

Clare hopes that her work will play a role in breaking the silence around taboo subjects and incite social change by encouraging viewers to question the social and political landscape:

“I hope that every person, no matter how they identify will have equal rights and opportunities and will be able to feel respected and appreciated. I hope for all the things that will make people equal, for respect, more diverse leadership, less discrimination, for female strength to be seen as powerful as male strength, I hope my friends won’t have to call me in fear when they walk home at night, I hope that everyone will think enough and care enough to help create change.”

The Flush installation at Sugar Mountain Festival 2016: