The visionary Monica Sjöö

As a very young woman I was inspired by the artist  Monica Sjöö – painter, writer, activist. She created a vision of the world from a woman’s perspective which was radical at the time, is still radical now and even more relevant. Drawing on global goddess myths, archaeology, ancient cultures, radical feminism and politics, her work was a way of life. She was involved in peace marches and Greenham Common and with prescience depicted climate breakdown in the early 1980s. She was a trail blazer and her ideas and the subject matter of her paintings led me to research goddess mythology. Beaconsfield Gallery brings together many of her works and ideas in ‘Monica Sjöö The time is NOW and it is overdue!’ Like too many female artists, she did not have any support in her life time, or any recognition, or even proper exhibitions. Celebrating the work of Sjöö  is long overdue. The exhibition at Beaconsfield Gallery is a rallying cry, not just for Sjöö but for female artists on the margins who have been ignored or found it impossible to show their work.

I had never seen Sjöö’s work in real life, only images in books I borrowed repeatedly from the library ( good work Brixton!) Her paintings are huge and powerful, and seeing them was overwhelming, like going back in time and rushing forward simultaneously. Things seem much worse than they were then. The time really is NOW – for women, for ordinary people everywhere, for the climate, for the planet. And it is overdue. Let us draw on Sjöö’s spirit and act. In honour of her work and its impact, I will be participating in ‘Peace Camp: The Imaginary of Greenham Common’  August 19 2022, telling myths around their ‘inner campfire’, from my upcoming book ‘The Mighty Goddess’ a collection of 52 goddess myths from around the world with 52 images created by Sophie Herxheimer to be published by The History Press in March 2023. This book has influential seeds sown by the visionary Monica Sjöö more than 40 years ago! 

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