Lives and works in United Kingdom
Helen Gorrill’s work is held in private collections worldwide and now included in New York Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A Sackler Center for Feminist Art archive, alongside feminist icons The Guerrilla Girls, Tracey Emin, Annie Sprinkle, Miriam Schapiro, Judy Chicago and Pipilotti Rist.
Her first degree show was censored by the police and reported in The Guardian/The Observer on Sunday in “Britain is not radical enough” for featuring dominant powerful females and nude submissive men: “ The male figures have been censored but to protect whom? The spam I receive contains more indecency than Ms Gorrill’s work. And it is much less interesting because she makes a valid point”.
Gorrill has exhibited nationally and internationally and had her feminist and gender work featured in many publications. Her major London solo show Deicide was a showcase of four years of feminist research: “Multimedia Artist Helen Gorrill welcomed over a thousand spectators to the preview of her recent solo exhibition Deicide at DegreeArt’s Execution Room. Taking a political stand against the portrayal of women in art and religion, Gorrill’s work has caused controversy, thought, and extreme inspiration”.
Much of Gorrill’s work questions the submissiveness of women advocated by religion, particularly in her investigation of Christianity. Her work has grown increasingly towards mixed-media and sculpture/installation. She also works with unexpected found/lost objects, such as reclaimed prosthetic limbs and medical appliances, combining these with traditional ‘feminine’ techniques such as stitch and embroidery.
Gorrill’s ‘Child of Numbers 31:18’ originally transpired as a ‘graduation gown’ for Chisinau girls. The artist had read about the issues Moldova faced with human sex trafficking of young females, and the bleak future for many innocent girls who were trafficked through their desperation for a route out of poverty. In the Bible’s ‘Numbers 31:18’ and Christianity’s war against the Midonites, Moses was ordered by God to kill every male, ordering “But all the women-children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves”.
People are often afraid to discuss religion and it remains one of our last taboos, a subject we avoid for fear of causing offence. With Western restrictions on the media’s criticism of any religious practice, male-controlled religion will continue to dominate and underpin our society. Gorrill’s feminist subject matter is deeply disturbing, and to her, vital in speaking the unspeakable and standing up for human rights.