exhibition archive

Chelsea College of Arts Postgraduate Show

Gallery: Who Has Seen the Wind? Women and Ceramics
Online: Playtime.Commodity

Curated by MA Curating and Collections Students 2021-22

Tuesday 5 - Saturday 9 July 2022
Private View: Monday 4 July, 6 – 9pm

Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 11am – 5pm

Please register for the private view via Eventbrite


Chelsea College of Arts Postgraduate Show image

We are happy to support a new generation of arts specialists with the two exhibitions, Who Has Seen the Wind? Women and Ceramics, and Playtime.Commodity curated by MA Curating and Collections students from Chelsea College of Art, UAL, hosted at Chelsea Space.

In the gallery, Who Has Seen the Wind? Women and Ceramics, considers the transformative power of ceramics as a perpetual space of rebirth and unity. Featuring a range of twentieth-century potters, ceramists, and designers from The Camberwell Inner London Educational Authority (ILEA) Collection, the exhibition presents a dialogue with contemporary artists to explore the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, and sexuality within feminism.

Inspired by the poem “Who Has Seen the Wind?” by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), the exhibition is divided into three chapters: ‘Whisper’, ‘Echo’, and ‘Chorus’ to embody the idea of wind as the voices of women projected throughout history. The exhibition offers a physical illustration of the vessel as a cultural carrier bag to embody feminist spaces and celebrate underrepresented female voices.

Who Has Seen the Wind? features: Susie Cooper, Francine Delpierre, Ruth Duckworth, Beate Kuhn, Helen Pincombe, Lucie Rie, Mary Rogers, Mollie Winterburn and Denise Wren from the Camberwell Inner London Educational Authority (ILEA) Collection with contemporary artists, Sarah Forrest, Clementine Keith-Roach, Bisila Noha, and Rose Schmits.

Live at 11am on Monday 4 July: https://www.ualmacc.com/wwwplaytimecommodity/

The online exhibition Playtime.Commodity uses an e-commerce platform to present toys from The Camberwell Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) Collection and contemporary artworks in a comparative context. Playtime.Commodity explores the influence of toys from The Camberwell ILEA Collection on British society after the World Wars, through representations of consumerism and gendered stereotypes.

Understanding the social devastation experienced by many in the post-war economic climate provided the opportunity for people to contribute to the rebuilding of the economy and therefore the social fabric of society through consumerism, The Camberwell ILEA Collection facilitated an aesthetic education founded upon the notion of "good design" and a “healthy” form of consumerism. This approach, aligned with ideas fostered through the expansion of education across the UK, assisted with rebuilding the post-war social and financial fabric of Britain. 

In the schoolroom, 1950s and 1960s toys from The Camberwell ILEA Collection were utilised to implement a post-war social agenda. Including familial stereotypes such as the ‘nuclear’ family of cloth dolls to the division of train sets as specifically male oriented; these toys were deployed to reinforce cultural normativity at a time of political instability. While the original intention may have been to create toys to model behaviour to rebuild the social and economic foundations of British society, the display asks if a desire for profit and financial gain by businesses influenced the way toys were portrayed.

Alongside toys from The Camberwell ILEA Collection Playtime.Commodity will feature film, video and photographic artwork that speaks to these questions. Included are artworks which addresses the commercialisation of childhood and the infantilization of adult behaviour to criticise the excesses of consumerism. Natalie MacMahon’s Pink Me Blue (2019) depicts an imaginative world where social stereotypes are challenged, while Xinyu Cao’s String Figure (2021) demonstrates the idea of “no absolute victory” through the consumption of time.


UAL Chelsea College of Arts