Portraits offer a 'modern take on the divine feminine'

Samantha Louise Emery

Samantha Louise Emery exhibits her Wise Woman portraits at The Hoxton Arches this month - Credit: Samantha Louise Emery

Portraits of strong women activists, journalists and creatives go on display at Hoxton Arches this month.

Samantha Louise Emery's IKONA Wise Women series offers a "modern take on the divine feminine" with images of ten women including Tara Westover, Andrea McLean and Adrienne Clarkson.

The multimedia portraits use underwater photography, embroidery, paint and giclée printing to express the strengths of women and how they connect with each other, and with mother earth.

Emery, who infuses self portraits into her work, set out to meet inspiring women from around the world on her quest to understand the wisdom of womanhood. After printing her works, the Central St Martins graduate embroiders and paints onto each canvas to complete them.

She said the exhibition was the first time she had used underwater photography as part of her creative process: “I believe women as individuals and as a collective wield great power, and I want this series to inspire us all to reclaim our divine feminine force. Womenkind holds an affinity with our waters being both nurturing and powerful. As part of this project, I was compelled to learn the art of freediving in order to affirm our deep interconnection with nature and to highlight the urgent need to protect our global waters.”

Samantha Louise Emery

Samantha Louise Emery, The Healer_IKONA Wise Women exhibition - Credit: Samantha Louise Emery

Ten per cent of proceeds from the portraits will be donated to charities chosen by each woman, with three additional artworks raising funds for the Sea Change Project, producers of award winning documentary My Octopus Teacher. These additional artworks embody The Healer and The Protector, the modern goddesses who remind us of our sacred power and united force.

The ten subjects are: filmmaker Andrea Luka Zimmerman, poet Asieh Amini, author Kathryn Kemp-Griffin, actress and activist Özge Borak, Char Ellesse, creator and founder of Girls Will Be Boys, Andrea McLean, author and co-founder of This Girl is on Fire, Adrienne Clarkson, author and former Governor General of Canada; Marianne McKenna, architect and founding partner of KPMB Architects; author Tara Westover, and musician and singer Emma Frank.

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IKONA runs at Hoxton Arches, 402 Cremer Street, E2 from October 14-17.