Companions is an exhibition that is rooted in the Feminist Library. Open since 1975 and recently relocated to Peckham, South London, the Library is a large archive collection of feminist literature, and an autonomous, intersectional, trans-inclusive, non-sectarian community space for the exploration of feminism.
Minna Haukka’s and Kristin Luke’s collaborative project Mobile Feminist Library is an extension of the Feminist Library installed in a van. Since 2018, the MFL has taken different forms, responding to each place it lands. At Forum Box Gallery, the Mobile Feminist Library becomes an expanded concept, combining mobility and collective practice to cultivate counter-patriarchal bodies and systems of knowledge. Haukka and Luke have used this as their framework for inviting a group of Finnish and UK based artists to create a feminist base for reflection, learning and dreaming.
The exhibition elicits different associations with the word companion: books, friends, partners, animals, plants, travelling – their absences during the pandemic, and longing for them. The works displayed will embody or act as traces of these relationships. The artists work across sculpture, drawing, film, publishing and installation to map out the ways in which these relationships manifest in the body, in organisms, in domestic and natural environments. Such creative actions become processes of healing, restoring and recovering.
Drawing on historical and current convergences between art practice and activism, the artists in Companions will share their tools for living with uncertainty, and call for new codes of survival and forms of togetherness.
The public program of screenings, talks and performances will run alongside the exhibition, exploring how the term companions can also include international solidarities.
Artists and collectives include Niina Lehtonen Braun, Maria Duncker, Minna Haukka, Harriet Hill, Rachael House, Jasmine Johnson, Heidi Kilpeläinen, Kristin Luke, Maria Mahfooz, Emily Mulenga, Mimosa Pale, Rachel Pimm, Sister Library Mumbai, Anna Chrystal Stephens, Ilona Valkonen, Alice May Williams, Feminist Library and Queer Zine Library.