Manifesto (as performed @ Precarious Assembly at the Whitworth, 4 Aug, 2016):
We are tired of being unseen, having our power and visibility diminished, due to perceptions based on both gender and age.
We are tired of being invisible. Do you see me? Do you?
We demand you listen to our stories, focusing on the politic of our everyday life.
We are tired of limits.
We are Sexcentenary.
We insist on realising and maintaining potential, rejecting limitations imposed on us as older women.
We will devise strategies to push ourselves into the picture and to take our rightful places. Which picture? Name a picture for us. Paint that picture with us in it.
We demand credit where credit is due.
We expect a historic fine art collection that includes work by women.
We are tired of seeing representations of women that do not look like us.
We are tired of being seen as an extension of someone else—as someone’s partner, or mother or daughter or granny.
We demand you recognize us each severally and collectively with the agency we have.
We are tired of being too exhausted by domestic demands to make work, then too old to be taken seriously as emerging artists.
We are tired of the refrain of galleries wanting the young and the new. We see a crying waste of brilliant women, first suppressed by domesticity and then ignored by ageism.
We are tired of youth, youth, youth… society’s obsession with youth, especially in regard to the female body. That female body becomes reduced to its relative position in a scale of years.
We identify as older women.
We accept our ageing bodies, our grey hair our wrinkles, our lived in frames.
We demand you stop selling us youth as the ideal. Stop selling us tortuous devices, deforming treatments and toxic cosmetics
to make us look younger.
We demand you recognize the elegance of the traces of our valorous and eloquent lives.
We are tired of being trivialized.
We are tired of the underexplored, undervalued and underrepresented conditions of older women in all aspects of the art world, in museum collections, in funding opportunities and in commercial viability.
Sexcentenary came into being following our experience taking part in Rocio Boliver's workshop Between Menopause and Old Age, Alternative Beauty, organised by the Live Art Development Agency for Restock, Reflect, Rethink Three on Live Art and Feminism, and supported by the EU funded Collaborative Arts partnership Programme (CAPP).