209 Women (2018-19)
Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot
by Monika Fischbein ©2018
"I invited Anne Marie to an East London studio to make her portrait. The Chiaroscuro lighting setup complemented her dark hair and choice of navy jacket and skirt with white piping. I wanted the images to be free from distractions and Anne Marie’s presence to communicate her strength and grace at the same time. The final image reflects the deep perceptive nature of women. The importance of partaking in this project was to echo the female empowerment that will allow future generations’ true potential to be unlocked."
“TO REPRESENT AND BE PRESENTED FOR WHAT WE ARE – AS WOMEN, BY WOMEN – IS A VERY SPECIAL THING. THIS IS WHAT 209 WOMEN IS ALL ABOUT.”
Helen Pankhurst, Great Granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst
This landmark exhibition features portraits of 209 female MPs, photographed by the UK's leading 209 female photographers. It coincides with the centenary of the first election where women could cast a vote, and one hundred years after women gained the right to sit in Parliament as MPs.
UK Parliament, 2018
Into the Arena (2018-9)
I was on a visiting lecture tour in Spain in 2016, when I became fascinated with the idea of Bullfighting and its expression of Spanish national identity. I immersed myself in literature and endless research on this topic. La corrida is deeply intertwined with Spanish cultural identity, with its rich traditions, symbolism, and rituals that accompany each faena. I eagerly shared information about this with anyone willing to listen, emphasising how our heritage influences us. I then delved into the story of Toro de Lidia, the Spanish Fighting Bull himself, and discovered that the highest honor for the bull, the breeder, and ultimately the torero, is not to kill the bull, but to showcase his fighting abilities to such a level that he is pardoned and lives as El Toro Inultado.
National Identity Project (2017)
The National Identity Project, led by artist Monika Fischbein, delves into the influence of national identity on individuals' lives. The project took to the roads of the South West in the form of a mobile studio called the Camper Obscura. Inside the campervan, portraits were captured and stories were gathered, providing a space for people to express their own experiences of national identity. Fischbein's artistic practice focuses on exploring the various forms of identity and how they are constructed through narratives. Through extensive research, she examines the concept of the lyrical self in image making, incorporating the manifestation of national identity within the medium. Initially rooted in her own exploration of belonging, Fischbein has now collaborated with Fotonow CIC to expand her project and engage in authentic dialogues with communities, aiming to uncover diverse stories and faces. The project is made possible through public funding from the National Lottery, supported by Arts Council England.