Women artists celebrated in the city – Southampton City Art Gallery

Women artists celebrated in the city

8 Mar 2023

On International Women’s Day, Southampton City Art Gallery, in partnership with the Arts Council Collection and ‘a space’ arts, announce the winners of their Billboard Project. It will show the work of three Southampton based female artists on digital billboards across the city.

The artists were chosen by Turner-prize winning artist, Lubaina Himid CBE, and their stunning artworks draw on themes from the exhibition, Found Cities, Lost Objects: Women in the City. This exhibition was curated by Himid and is currently on show at Southampton City Art Gallery. The three winning local artists are Ellen Gillett, Sarah Filmer and Olana Light.

The digital Billboards will be live from the 20 March until the end of April 2023 on a number of digital screens around the city.

Winner – Olana Light, said: I am honoured and proud to win the commission and to have an opportunity to make a new work.

I propose to explore the connection between nature, women, and places through a series of eco-based wearable sculpture self-portrait photography in public places in Southampton.

By staging live performances on the streets and creating billboard artwork, I want to remove barriers to going to galleries and make art accessible to everybody in the area.

Winner – Ellen Gillett, said: I am thrilled that my proposal has been selected for the ‘Found Cities, Lost Objects’ billboard commission. The project resonates with my practice and presents a great opportunity to explore my ideas on a larger scale.

My proposed artwork draws inspiration from the multi-image technologies used in lenticular imagery or trivision billboards, exploring the potential of combining multiple images to create a striking ambiguity. By representing multiple experiences of Southampton in one image, I will capture a sense of the city’s duality.

Winner – Sarah Filmer, said: I am so thrilled that ‘knit the walls’ will be represented in the billboard commission – through this project many knitters of Southampton have connected with the stories of women in the city since the Middle Ages, as well as with each other. together, we will visit the exhibition and be inspired to choose an object to cover in knitting – a totem to our experiences of living in Southampton in 2023.

Found Cities, Lost Objects: Women in the City is an Arts Council Collection national touring exhibition curated by Turner Prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid CBE. Drawn from the Arts Council Collection and Southampton City Art Gallery’s collection, this collaborative exhibition encourages us to bring our own experiences of the urban environment.  It acknowledges the privileges which allow some women to roam freely, while also considering the boundaries that may curb the experiences of others.

This is an exhibition acknowledges conversations between audiences and artists at its heart, exchanging observations, memories and imaginings, to give us all a greater sense of self and consider our own relationships with the city.

The exhibition is on show at Southampton City Art Gallery until 6 May 2023.

Councillor Kaur, Leader of Southampton City Council said: We’re proud to be celebrating our female artists on International Women’s Day! This is a great project to support and highlight the amazing talent we have right here in Southampton and the work that we do with national partners and internationally significant artists like Lubaina Himid CBE – this is precisely the sort of legacy we are building upon as our UK City of Culture legacy.




Olana Light -Adapting to the New Reality of Life After Lockdown


Ellen Gillett – Billboard Experimentation

Sarah Filmer – An example of previous work

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