ovaries are stronger than balls: in conversation with delilah holliday

We catch up with feminist artist and Skinny Girl Diet front-woman Delilah Holliday

|
May 22 2015, 8:15am

If Kathleen Hanna had a love child, she'd be a lot like feminist artist and Skinny Girl Diet front-woman Delilah Holliday. From her music to her art, Delilah oozes the riot grrrl air of rebellion. She's smart, she's savvy, and she knows what she's talking about, while her beliefs in social equality are genuine, and she's become pretty good at wading through the bullshit 'trends' of modern feminism. Fresh from her foundation show and currently working on a project for Female Matters, a group show in aid of the fight against FGM, we catch up with the sassy songstress to talk ovaries, balls, and sexual liberation.

When did you first become interested in art?
Well I started off drawing caricatures of my primary school teachers and it always felt like an amazing release of aggression. So I thought to myself, "Wow. I would love to do this for the rest of my life," and now I always draw and paint as much as I can.

What inspires you?
What inspires me the most are all the different variations of people and their lives that you see on an average day. Where are they going? Who are they? I like making up little stories about those strangers. I was stranded at Heathrow airport once and I saw the craziest looking people pass me by so I decided to draw them. Also politics inspire me, looking at all of those things from above using a satirical viewpoint. I'm also very inspired by what it means to be a woman and identity in general.

What is it you're trying to do with your art?
I'm trying to make my art relatable and light-hearted at the same time. And make light of all the fucked up things in the world.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
I would describe my aesthetic as rough and ready but kind of glamorous at the same time kind of like my personality. I'm not detail orientated at all; I like to just go with the flow and see how my piece of work ends up.

When did you realise you were a feminist and what does feminism mean to you?
I realised I was feminist when I was 12 and I first got cat called on the street and I thought, "This is not right it's got to change. Shit like this shouldn't be allowed to happen." My mum and dad have always believed in feminism ever since I can remember so I was brought up with strong views on equality.

How did you get involved with Female Matters and what does it mean to be a part of it?
I kind of got involved with them by being in a band that plays punk music called Skinny Girl Diet. From that I met awesome girls that make art and it's just great to be a part of something with people with like-minded views.

The theme of the exhibition is sexual liberation, why is that an important thing to discuss, particularly for women?
It's an important thing to discuss because I feel that women aren't allowed to be liberated at all in our society. The stigma is budging slightly but it definitely could be more equal and women should be allowed to talk about sex more and not feel bad about it!

What can we expect to see from you in the exhibition?
You can expect to see my collection of prints called Ovaries Are Stronger Than Balls, which are hand screen-printed, and my band is also contributing customised knickers, which are going to look amazing.

With the rise of all girl collectives and more artists trying to reclaim feminism, do you think that feminism has become a trend - something people talk about or make art about because it's the cool thing to do?
Yeah, definitely. But you can always tell whether it has integrity or not. I mean on a personal level I can't really make art unless it's communicating something. And the good thing about fads is they all die eventually.

Would it matter that it's just a trend when it's at least getting the feminist message out there?
It's good and bad in a way, as fads are always annoying because what comes up goes down even quicker. I feel like once you've been exposed to feminist ideologies it's probably going to be hard to forget them, fad or not.

For years the colour pink and other tropes of girlishness have signified female objectification/infantilisation, but now it seems to have been reclaimed as a means of female empowerment. How do you feel about this?
I think using pink within feminist artwork is reclaiming the colour, boys like pink just as much as girls. It's all about getting rid of gender roles. I used pink in an ironic way in my current pieces. The whole idea behind my piece is a big "Fuck you" to the whole imposed concept of gender roles.

What are you working on at the moment?
My music, I just did a comic for Polyester zine and just my own paintings and drawings.

How do you want to make a difference in the world?
I just want more equality and to hopefully inspire people and create more unity.

Opening 4th June, Female Matters is a one night only exhibition at Box Studio

cargocollective.com/delilahholliday

thegirlgeneration.org