occured: 6 – 16/02/14
This exhibition brings together for the first time, the photographic and film work of Claire Kern and Jorden Williams in a new installation at Arcadecardiff.
ʻContraʼ unites Kern and Williamsʼ shared concern with current socio-political factors that affect female sexuality, fertility and the choices and welfare of women today. See below for more details.
This exhibition brings together for the first time, the photographic and film work of Claire Kern and Jorden Williams in a new installation at Arcade Cardiff.
ʻContraʼ unites Kern and Williamsʼ shared concern with current socio-political factors that affect female sexuality, fertility and the choices and welfare of women today.
Their commentary is far-reaching and delivered with a sense of urgency and activism. Kern presents Silent Genocide, a series of photographs and texts documenting the heart-rending stories of women from Tibet living in India, facing potentially life-threatening sterilization procedures. Whilst Williams mines and questions the Western systems and values placed on contraceptive drugs that affect those a little closer to home, in her video work and installation,
The Doctored Oath.
Images: Left: Tsering Dogma (24) from the series Silent Genocide, 2011 © Claire Kern Right: Film still from The Doctored Oath, 2013 © Jorden Williams
In 1982, the Peopleʼs Republic of China passed a law, known as ʻthe one child ruleʼ. As a way to stem the rapid, unsustainable growth of Chinaʼs population, this law made it illegal for women to bear more than child. This law not only had a dramatic impact on the lives on Chinese women but also affected the Tibetan and Mongolian indigenous populations. Although allowed 2 children per family, treatments and propaganda were rolled out to encourage them to have only one, regardless of their religious believe and traditions.
Kern travelled to Dharamsala, India, to meet and interview Tibetan women who informed her of problems regarding the procedure and aftercare of sterilization operations, such as mini- Laparotomy or the insertion and removal of IUDs (coil). Many occasions were reported of women suffering from internal bleeding and dying after such procedures; often due to the extreme distance from their home to the nearest clinical facilities. As well as gathering experiences from women first hand, Kern interviewed a professional gynaecologist, who had removed some of the so called ʻChinese ringsʼ and questioned the risk of long term exposure to the IUD.
Claire Kern, (b. 1982, France) is a French photographer who has been living and working in Wales since 2008. In 2012 she graduated from Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport and currently manages the exhibitions and events at Third Floor Gallery, Cardiff.
The Doctored Oath
In contemporary Western culture, powerful synthetic hormones are generally an indubitable solution to fertility. The contraceptive pill is a staple icon within the history of the sexual revolution, but with its numerous health risks and billion-dollar income for pharmaceutical companies; Williams questions the veracity and hidden consequences of what has always been seen as a source of womenʼs liberation. This project aims to challenge our preconceived notions of trust within science and superiority through vocalizing the powerlessness and ill-informed nature of the female experience endured under a patriarchal hegemony.
The Doctored Oath provides an important insight regarding the politics of hormonal contraception that is typically disregarded or even concealed. With hopes of bringing awareness to the harsh reality of womenʼs current social standing.
Jorden Williams, (b. 1990, Cardiff) is a Cardiff-based visual artist. She is a recent graduate from Photographic Art at University of Wales, Newport. Her practice questions established norms within contemporary culture especially within the societal role of women.
For more information on the artists and their work, please see: