A Ramsgate artist who travelled the UK to chart women’s experience of menopause for a touring exhibition is set to have the works published as an art book which will be distributed world-wide.
Catrin Osborne photographed and interviewed dozens of women for their stories on the positives and negatives of their experience.
The result was “This Is What The Menopause Looks Like” featuring 70 diverse womxn, with video work by Margate artist Tindara Sidoti McNarey.
The exhibition toured Bristol, London, Ramsgate, Frome, Brighton, Sheffield, Rochdale, Faversham and Whitstable in 2022 and received lots of feedback, which included the suggestion of creating the book.
The project was an expansion of an exhibition originally held in 2019 which was prompted by Catrin experiencing a difficult, early menopause in addition to undiagnosed ADHD.
During the third covid lockdown she applied for funding from Arts Council England and ran a Crowdfunder campaign to make her exhibition a reality and following that success the extensive works, which will be expanded to feature an even more diverse range of people, will now go into print.
Catrin, who was one of the circus performers at the Olympic opening ‘Mary Poppins’ show in London in 2012, has now made a new Arts Council application and set up a crowdfunder to run a new tour alongside the latest project.
She said: “So many people who came to the exhibition thought it should be made into a book because there was so much information there. One woman said she would like it in book form so she could sit with it, maybe when she was up in the missile of the night, and read through it.
“I have got a publishing deal, which is dependent on the Arts Council funding and raising my own 10% through the crowdfunder.
“The publishing company is going to distribute it all over the world, taking my work global.
“It will be called “A Portrait Of The Menopause” and will feature 100 women, including seven from Kent
“The stories are unique, the women are diverse and they are photographed in their happy places and talk about the positives and negatives of the menopause.”
The exhibition was featured in the Royal Photographic Societies Documentary photography Quarterly Journal and nominated for an award for best exhibition at Brighton Fringe. It was also shown during last year’s Power of Women festival.
Catrin says the book will feature an expansion of those photographed to include Travelling women, women who are homeless, those living and travelling with circuses, women who have transitioned to male and non-binary people.
She added: “There will be 100 stories with 200 photographs, two pictures of each woman, and more diversity with all colours, classes and different demographics.”
One outcome of the project has been collaboration with women who took part in the interviews and photo sessions.
These include Tindara, who has made films for the exhibition, and two other Thanet women.
Catrin said: “Lara has worked as my access support worker – I have ADHD and this is something that really flared up when I hit perimenopause – on putting in the Arts Council England funding application. Lara puts on Screaming Alley shows in Ramsgate and Ruth designed the posters and the poster for a night we are putting on at Ramsgate Music Hall to raise money for the book.
“I loved Ruth’s story as she entitled it Anonymous and her text talked about how conflicting it felt that she didn’t want to be known and how society has traditionally hidden older women – my book and exhibition celebrates them.
“Lara went onto HRT because of the project, reading all the stories as we applied for the Arts Council application, educated her so much that she was able to speak to her GP and get the treatment she needed.
“I love that a lot of the women I met through photographing them have become part of the project now – like Tindara who made the films and lives in Margate.”
The benefit event for the book, Colliderscope, will be held at Ramsgate Music Hall on Saturday, April 22.
This will take place from 8pm-1pm with all female artists including Tindara Sidoti McNarys film Making Bodies – a short film about body image- and DJs The Lilo Lovers from Leeds,
DJ Steene from East London and Catrin will be DJ-ing under her pseudo name Madame Swish
Early bird tickets for £10 are available until Thursday 6th April on the fundraiser page. Tickets are also available on the music hall website up until the night of the event.
Colliderscope is planned to become a regular night with the following one being held at Petticoat Lane Emporium cafe in July,
People can pre-order a copy of the book, which will be out next year, and help with its creation at the same time via the crowdfunder page.
The book is £25 – with post and packing taking from the cowdfunder page.
Find the crowdfunder at: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/this-is-what-the-menopause-looks-like-book
Ramsgate circus theatre director and artist using photography and real-life stories for This Is What Menopause Looks Like exhibition