Slow Boat17.08.2018

Ming de Nasty – LADYWOOD

By Kaye Winwood, Looping the Loop Producer

Ming de Nasty is currently artist in residence on Ikon’s Slow Boat. We asked her about LADYWOOD –  a series of portraits of female refugees that are displayed around the Soho Loop. 




Can you explain what the project is?
LADYWOOD consists of 3 metre high photographs pasted along the canalside of Soho Loop, these portraits are of refugee women seeking asylum in the UK.  I wanted to highlight these women and recognise them as valued members of the Ladywood community. This project seeks to show the women’s strength, and they are printed larger than life for this reason; asserting them as strong women in Ladywood and making the community see them as they would like to be seen.

How does it relate to Ladywood?
The women portrayed will statistically have access to: lower wages, worse job prospects and lower levels of respect in the communities in which they live. They are more likely to be carers with no pay, they are less likely to have their views heard and they are less likely to have their needs met.

I chose to include wild flowers that are found along the canal side alongside the women. Wild flowers are uncultivated, growing free in a world of conformity. They are dispersed and flourish where ever they settle.

What was the working process for making the work? How did you work with Mothership and the women?
I started the project by being introduced by MotherShip to local refugee groups like The Meena Center and Rivers of Gold. I had three weekly sessions to introduce my idea for the project get to know the participants and gain their trust. I explained the project to them and talked through some of my ideas. The women liked the idea of being portrayed as strong and got excited about being made in to really large images along the canal that made them visible. All the participants were given prints during these sessions. They were really grateful to be given the pictures. One woman said ‘thank you for this you do not know how much this means to me.’

I then took the portraits and illustrations of wild flowers, edited them and worked out how they would work in the different placements along the water by making mock up images. Once I had a clear idea of which images would work, I had them printed and cut them out by hand. Myself and a team of people went out on a narrow boat and kayak to paste them up on the walls.

How does this project contribute to your practice?
I have wanted to do portraits on this scale for a long time. I have looked at the work of other artists that do this and I’m excited to see how my work would translate in to this format. It is great to be given the opportunity to do this by Ikon.

In your opinion, what’s the best way to see this work?
The best way to view the work is by taking a walk or cycle on the Soho Loop or on a narrow boat.

Wild Dining on Sunday 26 August is a unique way to explore LADYWOOD. Take a leisurely journey aboard Slow Boat before experiencing a magical feast in a secret canalside location. Presented in partnership with York’s Bakery Café.

Ikon’s Slow Boat programme, Looping the Loop, is supported by Arts Council Strategic TouringMichael Marsh Charitable TrustW.A. Cadbury TrustSandwell Metropolitan Borough Council,  Canal & River Trust and Grantham Yorke Trust.


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