“When a woman thinks alone she thinks evil,” reads the Hammer of Witches. Patriarchy and fear once drove Shinto female priests and European witches in the middle ages into manic oppression. Tokyo-based Polish artist Ewelina Skowronska relives this narrative and the depth behind their stories in her exhibition Voices from the Inside.
For the exhibition, Ewelina Skowronska transformed THE KNOT’s gallery into an imaginative magical space, a kind of gates to a temple. Following many painting that is both carnal and provoking, the audience enters the main piece of the exhibition – wall installation combined with mural painting, sculpture and long mono-prints scrolls.
In exploring and examining classic mythological, religious and cultural narratives of the female form—such as that of shamans and witches—social attitudes are heavily burdened with fear, due to the notions of female domination or female eroticism exceeding cultural standards. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, the practice of genocide and outcasting witches was woven into the social norm of the Western world and this prejudice towards women has shaped the reality today. In the Shinto religion, women once occupied important roles and positions like priestess or shamans, however slowly they were outcast and their powers became limited. Artist Ewelina Skowronska reevaluated these figures of witches and shamans, from being seen as a disruption to the old and well-known order, to symbols of liberated women and today’s feminist icons.
Voices From The Inside draws from these female narratives and centres on the idea that both nature and our bodies are oriented towards finding a balance and building collective thinking, we just need to tune in to those voices. “The body is not just something out there—it is not a resource or commodity. It is our own materiality, a carrier of spiritual, sexual, and cultural energy. The story comes from the body.” – says the artist.
About the artist
Born in Poland, Skowronska currently lives and works in Tokyo. She retrained and specialised in visual arts at the University of The Arts London where she graduated with distinction in 2015. The female body is at the forefront of her prints and ceramic sculptures, in which she explores issues connected with gender, identity, sexuality, and the body. In her practice she uses mostly printmaking and ceramics, however for THE KNO she will use experimental airbrush techniques. Ewelina’s work has been exhibited many times in Japan, as well as internationally. In 2017, she was awarded the Print Prize by ST Bridge Foundation and Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2018. Her prints can be found in the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Spiral Wacoal Art Foundation Tokyo, and Guanlan Printmaking Museum in China.
Title: Voices from the inside
Date: May 27th (Friday) -July 27th (Tuesday), 2021
Location: Hotel THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku 2F Gallery
4-31-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023