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ARTIST PROFILE

BIOGRAPHY


Marcia Bennett Male is London born and based, with a workshop at the Thames-Side Studios in SE18. She is a sculptor who uses all things culinary in her stone carvings.  


After completing a degree in fine art at Wolverhampton Polytechnic she was granted a scholarship to formally train as an architectural stone carver and letter cutter followed by a QEST scholarship to train as a stone mason. 


As a freelance carver she has worked in the USA, has several public art pieces in south-east London as well as letter cutting work throughout the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. She has run

carving workshops in many galleries and museums including The Royal Academy and The British Museum. For over a decade she has taught at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Her interest in food as a cultural signifier developed during a period in which she had a studio in the heart of bustling, culinary diverse Peckham. Her love of using recycled stone, sometimes from old buildings sites, adds further layers of meaning.    


Marcia has exhibited widely across the UK including the Royal Academy Summer Show as well as abroad in New York and Mexico City. She is a member of The Royal Society of Sculptors and a QEST scholar.



TEXTILE STATEMENT


My textile pieces are art therapy, cathartic, autobiographical, they put a visual to my thoughts and experiences.


The pieces look at depression, suicide, self harm, self hatred and how I navigate through the world as a black female. The work also depicts black women from history, previously poorly documented, alongside fantastical goddesses of myth and legend.


As a textile artist I’m not interested in a multitude of intricate stitches and techniques, despite having studied European and ecclesiastical embroidery. For me, getting the image out of my head  as quickly as possible to view is more important. 


My chief influences at first were the embroidered flags of Fante people, Ghana. Looking at their style and execution gave me permission to relax from my formal embroidery training. It was also the fearless and visceral paintings of Frida Kahlo which enabled me to work on an autobiographical level.


I repeatedly use two motifs as a type of short hand: ‘The Blue Bird of Happiness’ and the ‘Minstrel’s Smile’ (aka ‘Stiff-Upper-Lip’). Yes, the Blue Bird represents happiness, but I usually depict it as a contrary and malevolent creature, often taking a shit over matters. The Minstrel’s Smile denotes the false ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ face that is required. I deliberately use chintz and English florals as background and terra firma to denote where I live, what the dominant culture that surrounds me is, that I live on an island.