BIG WOMEN curated by Sarah Lucas at Firstsite, Colchester UK
Opening Celebration Friday 10 February 2023 | 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Exhibition runs 11 February - Sunday 18 June 2023

Join us for a BIG exhibition celebrating the creative achievements of women in art!
Curated by one of Britain’s most significant contemporary artists – Sarah Lucas – and featuring the work of over twenty high-profile female artists, the BIG WOMEN exhibition will include a variety of works that will make you think, laugh and reflect on the role women play in the creative world.

Works included in the exhibition will range from sculpture, painting, film to fashion, with works by artists including Renata Adela, Erica Åkerlund, Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press, Kate Boxer, Yoko Brown, Angela Bulloch, Phillippa Clayden, Sonia Coode-Adams, Vanessa Fristedt, Maggi Hambling, Pam Hogg, Rachel Howard, Merilyn Humphreys, Patricia Jordan, Princess Julia, Abigail Lane, Tory Lawrence, Millie Laws, Polly Morgan, Clare Palmier, Georgina Starr, Milly Thompson, Gillian Wearing, Sue Webster, and Lucas herself.

Inspired by conversations with friends and fellow artists, BIG WOMEN explores the questions and themes relating to womanhood, of societal expectations surrounding age, beauty, fashion and identity; celebrating women’s myriad achievements in the arts.

“So much emphasis in our culture is on youth. When the media wants to arouse our sympathy it’s all about children. The fashion and advertising media concentrates on young female beauty. The older woman is often overlooked, irrelevant, without currency. We live in an increasingly ageist society and this affects women disproportionately.

 I see BIG WOMEN as both an endorsement and a celebration of women’s achievement in the creative field. It aspires to be thought provoking, funny, serious, attractive and fun. God knows we need it in these times dominated by male aggression, politicking, greed, war and pig-headedness.”

 – Sarah Lucas

The exhibition has been made possible with support from Sadie Coles HQ, The Ampersand Foundation, The Coode Adams Firstsite Trust, and YesColours. Text from 

Firstsite press release.
See my installation photos of the exhibition here

Installation shot with Nymphs photos and film by Vanessa. Sculpture Pauline by Sarah Lucas. 

Still from the film The Spell by Vanessa. Breeze block by Sarah Lucas.

Installation shot with Nymphs photos and film by Vanessa. Sculpture Pauline by Sarah Lucas. 


Vanessa will be exhibiting Nymphs, a series of photographs of nature beings, trolls, witches and beautiful women set in the nature surroundings in Sweden, England and Jamaica.  A classic romanticism with a twist. Accompanied by The Spell, a video compilation of a dancing troll on a cormorant infested island followed by life on Commercial street in London where people break in to themselves and magpies bring you luck, filmed year 2001.

Nymph, Eden I, 2022
Photographic print on board
©Vanessa Fristedt

Nymph, Island girl II, Jamaica, 2022
Photographic print on board
©Vanessa Fristedt

Nymph, Wild girl, 2021
Photographic print on board
©Vanessa Fristedt


(Stills from The Spell)
Film compilation by Vanessa Fristedt, 2022
Edited by Heather Mae Jones
Sound Design by Heather Mae Jones
Technical Support from Pat Dam Smyth and Connor Linskey
Featuring Swedish Vanessa and Phil Dirtbox
Camera 1st part: Wanda Throne-Holst
Landing craft: M/S Pomerol
Music: Povel Ramel, Naturbarn
Camera 2nd part: Swedish Vanessa
Duration 8 mins (continuous loop)
TV monitor on breeze-block plinth

A personal glimpse into the British art scene and its creative spirit, shot with her Hi8 camcorder.


Archive video footage from 1993 to 2007 of art openings, exhibitions, parties and artists at work. Featuring artists including Abigail Lane, Sarah Lucas, Sam Taylor-Wood, Cerith Wyn Evans, Gavin Turk, Gary Hume, Angus Fairhurst, Andrea & Philippe, Gigi Gianuzzi and friends, Huutajat! The Finnish Screaming Men and many more.

Interviews with people coming out of Damien Hirst’s curated exhibition ‘Some Went Mad Some ran Away’ at the Serpentine Gallery. Vanessa’s egg performance on the rooftop of the Hayward gallery, Abigail Lane’s bottom printing, Sarah Lucas’ exhibitions The Law with Sadie Coles in 1997 and her shows in N.Y and Milton Keynes. Easter weekend in France with Tracey Emin, Mat Collishaw. Footage from London, New York, Venice and Rome.

Produced & Directed by Vanessa Fristedt, 2023
Editor: Phil Smith and Vanessa FristedT
Media: MP4 file. Digitalized Hi8 film
Duration: 77 mins

BIG WOMEN FILM FESTIVAL curated by Sarah Lucas. Please join us for a special art film weekend at Firstsite, Colchester 13-14th of May.

Download the film programme here for both days:
BOOK YOUR TICKETS (free or donations) from

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