Launched on September 1st for its inaugural fortnight run, Aurelia Arts Festival is an online festival featuring the work of 13 female artists. The Festival includes a virtual exhibition, catalogue, and a series of live interviews and events over on their Instagram account. All work exhibited is available to purchase through Aurelia.
Q: First thing’s first, introduce yourself personally
Verity:I’m Verity. I graduated from the University of Oxford in 2019 with my BA in History of Art – which is where I met Jo. I work in the contemporary art world as an art writer, artist liaison, vlogger, and podcast host. I’ve been really lucky to work with some amazing artists who have highlighted the need for more diverse representation in art shows and opportunities, especially when it comes to race, age, and motherhood.
Josephine: Hello! So, as has already been mentioned, I am Jo/Josephine and also went to Oxford for my undergraduate degree, where I studied Art History and met Verity. I am about to undertake my MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths, which I am super excited about. I am an incredibly passionate intersectional feminist. I grew up in an all-female household, with my super-woman mother as my idol.
I have learnt a lot about the art world having now worked in it full-time for over a year, and I have come across quite a few aspects that I would love to see changed. There is quite a lot of classism, sexism and racism still at play within much of the art world, sadly.
That is partly why I agreed to join in with the festival – there is a real ethos of hope for change, with an obvious focus on womxn generally. It’s a win win for me! Just before lockdown, I set up an Instagram aptly named @procrastinarting_where I interview and platform the works of emerging womxn artists, and it has been SUCH a rewarding experience, and it is mainly where I was introduced to most of the artists I asked to exhibit during the festival.
Q: What is Aurelia Arts Festival?
Verity: Aurelia is primarily an online exhibition of purchasable artwork from 13 incredible wom*n artists. But during our run between the 1st and 14th of September Aurelia also has live interviews, studio tours, and an opening artist discussion event.
Q: Describe Aurelia Arts Festival in 3 words?
Verity: Plucky, upfront, necessary
Josephine: Inclusive, Unpretentious, welcoming
Q: When and how did this project begin?
Josephine: I think it was a really pretty organic process. We are both very driven individuals, and during lockdown we both felt we wanted to put our time and effort into creating something meaningful and positive. It has been such a rewarding experience!
Q: What would you say is Aurelia’s main goal?
Verity: I think the goal from the get-go has been to make something that rejects the pretentiousness of the artworld, to work with fantastic artists we love, and to try our hand at new skills.
Josephine: I think we have a desire to create an environment that is open to all, and isn’t intimidating. The artworld can be such an intense place which can often put people off buying for the first time. That is why we are so transparent: there will be ways to purchase the art in instalments, and there will be no hidden costs like shipping etc.
Hopefully in this way we can pave out a new way of interacting with collectors and artists alike. All the works on sale will be reflective of the time, effort and love put into them by the artists – we strongly believe in dispelling the myth of the ‘starving artist’. The works will also be available to purchase through a ‘layaway’ scheme, helping those who may otherwise struggle to buy art.
At the very core, Aurelia is about equality and openness, and I think those ideas in themselves are something that most people care about.
Q: Which artists have you got booked?
Verity: Jo and I have a split of artists that we act as primary contacts for and who we chose to invite to exhibit. I’m thrilled to be working with Bianca Fields, Fion Gunn, Kemi Onabule, Una Ursprung, Georgina Walton, and Amber Roper.
Josephine: I had SO many artists I wanted to ask, so it was actually really difficult for me to only invite 7, but each and every one of these artists are so unique, and really really do create works that speak to me (as cheesy as that sounds!).
I have interviewed most of these artists already on my Instagram, so if you’re after a bit of a sneak peek into their works and practice, I’d suggest having a look ! I’m working with Annie Hodgin, Emily Ponsonby, Mafalda Figuerido, Kira Gurmail-Kauffman, Cathy Tabbakh, Sophie Vallance Cantor, and Elisa Valenti.