Liv Wynter is a queer artist, educator, activist and writer from South London. She uses an anarchic exploration of language, live performance, and text based practice to create unique forms of storytelling and to initiate discussions around class, sexuality and gender.
Though her work is socially and politically demanding, it demonstrates a fluidity which allows her to move from art institutions to youth clubs, community centres and protests.
“I’m not one of those romantic suffering artists, if I’m miserable I can’t make any work and if I try it’s awful.”[5:24]
Liv was trying to find a way to take feminist artwork into non feminist spaces—which led her to spoken word poetry, with some of her work going viral. This made an artistic step for her into live performance.
This was around the time she applied for her position as an artist in residence at the Tate. She worked engaging children and others in the art galleries at the Tate. This is really important, especially for youth who haven’t been allowed into artistic spaces. It was Liv’s job to try and make them comfortable and engaged in the gallery space.[11:00]
Liv has found that people invite her to work with them due to her radical work, but when she shows up with that mindset it tends to put off these people or institutions.
While she seemed to have her dream job, Liv read an article about Maria Balshaw—a Director at the Tate. A quote from Maria set Liv off when she spoke about sexual harassment. Balshaw’s comments didn’t sit well with Liv, and naturally, Liv voiced her concerns. It was Liv’s opinion that Balshaw should be a bit more sensitive to issues of race and gender—being the director.[18:38]
After raising the issues and feeling unheard, distraught, and wondering what to do—Liv decided to resign on International Women’s day with a letter, hoping it would make an impact. And make an impact it did—you can find a full transcript of her letter here: cargocollective.com
“I think people assume that if you make work about violence and trauma that you’re over it—and actually I’m not, I’m still in it and feeling it.”
The letter put pressure on the Tate from both the inside and out. Her disruption has spurred dialogue and change in a much faster manner than Liv feels like she could have caused from working inside the Tate alone. She hopes that this helps the Tate become a more accessible space, not one that can come across as hostile or off putting for the youth that come there to be inspired.
Liv’s more recent projects include House Fire, a story about a woman whose house burns down four times—and more importantly, how the community reacts. The performance has travelled around and has been shown in France as well (the initial event even drawing protests from far right nationalists).
All to say, Liv shows no indication of slowing down or staying quiet. You can find her all over the internet making more performance art, and even being in punk rock bands. You can find her work at cargocollective.com/livwynter
@LivWynter – Instagram