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The Aunties (Disposable Women)

Collection: Gray's School of Art Sculpture Collection; Gray's School of Art Ceramics Collection
Object Type: Sculpture
Artist/Maker: Gray, Margaret
Place Made: United Kingdom: Aberdeenshire, Gray's School of Art
Date: 2010
Media/Materials: raku fired porcelain
Dimensions: overall: 37 cm x 32 cm x 24 cm
Awards: RGU Three Dimensional Design Purchase Award; BP Design Award - Commended


Five raku fired porcelain bottle shapes (moulded from plastic bleach bottles) mounted on a wooden base and contained in a perspex display case.

Artist's statement:
"Being brought up in Northern Ireland I have experienced how family and religion moulds people and how these two well-intended aspirations predominantly affect the role that women are asked to play within their family and society.
As a teenager my career was chosen for me and I was told that if I disagreed with this choice I would be expected to leave the family home.
However, some families and groups from other cultures force this expectation of duty to a very different level, as many women are conditioned to accepting their place in society as worthless second-class citizens, often facing the daunting consequences of being forced to commit suicide or to be murdered if they do not co-operate with the strict customs and choices enforced on them.
'Disposable Women' is my interpretation of these tragic accounts regarding some of these silent, slave-like women.
The women are represented by bleach bottles – not only is the shape feminine but some women reportedly have drunk bleach to try to commit suicide.
I created 'The Aunties' after reading a piece by Jasvinder Sanghera in her book "Shame". In it, she tells of the groups of local women gossiping at the gurdwara (a religious building). I discovered during my research that gossip can turn to rumour and very often a rumour about someone is enough to bring shame. For the family's honour to be restored they believe they must eliminate (honour kill) the one who they believe is guilty. 'The Aunties' are standing on dangerous ground, as the gossip could one day be about one of them."
Object Number: ABDRG2010.518