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Femininity and Freedom - Hear What our Judges Had To Say

The Sassy Show asked to see your videos exploring three of our favourite themes: body image, sexuality, and our menstrual cycle. And boy, did you deliver! To help us critique the work, we brought on board performance artists and Doctor in Gender Studies, Maiada Aboud, and Roots Soul singer Teshay Makeda. Both women harness themes of femininity within their own work, using creativity as a form of self-expression and social critique.

Read on to hear what Aboud and Makeda had to say about the 7 winner's short films, offering their support and productive feedback in relation to the execution of each piece of work. All films are hosted on The S° Rated Video Channel for you to see in full.


Free The Red

by Anneliek Nieuwland, Contemporary Artist, The Netherlands

"A lot of my work is autobiographical, this one in particular. I speak freely about how, during my period, I could literally feel my uterus shedding and would get such bad pains in my vagina that I couldn’t move. I had the feeling there was something wrong with me and I went to the doctor.

To cut a long story short, in 2012 they removed my uterus. The horrible pains in my vagina were caused by a calcified myoma pushing on my blather. During the operation, they hit an artery, so recovery was long. The period towards and after the operation I processed the experience by making different artworks like this video. On one side menstruation is a beautiful thing, and is a sign of fertility, on the other side it can be very horrible if your body is malfunctioning and you feel half a woman"

Anneliek Nieuwland

Aboud: I can clearly say this movie was one of my favourite ones. I really liked the artistic approach and the way the video speaks for itself. The animation is very strong on its own but I feel the text reading 'Oh, no it's happened again' is a bit unnecessary. However, the music and the beat gives the video more strength. I like the contrast between the white and black. My understanding is that all this pain from menstruation is shared among most women and it will end when it is supposed to end. I think the artist should keep an open ending without any question and keep her private experience to be revealed within the text accompanying the video.

Makeda: It was shedding and releasing one's flow and made me feel her pain as I can relate to womb trauma. I think it was very brave and powerful to create such a personal piece. I really loved the pulse/heartbeat that stayed consistent throughout - the womb has her own pulse.


Pussy Protection (Doo-Wop Parody)

by Meakoom, Singer, UK

An experimental music video about respecting yourself and your vagina by East London singer, Meakoom. This Poetic Doo Wop is one of Meakoom's many musical creations that reflects the steady, soulful approach she takes to life.

Aboud: This musical creation made me enjoy my feminine side and think how beautiful we are as females. The video is a bit mainstream for me and does not experiment in the making but it's nice to listen to and enjoy.

Makeda: I loved the authenticity and overall creativity of this piece; being free but protected with one's own voice, with the ending of crossing one's legs representing the protection of one's sacred space.


Wave Pulses

by Gislaine Costa, Performer, Brazil

The performer sews a uterus and heart on her body, and initiates touching actions, followed by sinuous movements and poses that refer to archetypal images of the feminine. As these movements intensify, pearls appear that decorate the body and mark the passage of time.

Between movements, there is interaction with a mask, which brings the sense of losing and revealing identity, especially to see the deep. The dance is inspired by the belly dance, of the old priestesses, gypsies and prostitutes, and from this sacred and profane fusion, the reconnection with the feminine power appears. In a cycle of death and rebirth, breaking free from taboos, violence and repression, in search of a cure and pleasure.

Aboud: I love the movements, femininity, and the intensity and the act of decorating the body in order to mark time. The video gives a sacred and profane feeling to femininity.

What I don't resonate with are the belly dancer's moves: I think it would have worked better if the artist kept the movement to minimal symbolic abstract movements within the diptych. Although I think the video could be shortened a bit, it is very inspiring and artistic, the contrast between the black and white works perfectly.

It represented to me the feminine pearl. Taking off the veil also made me think it was a challenge to patriarchy and religion - Teshay Makeda

Makeda: The activations through the womb dances made me feel like I need to dance more. I loved the webs that were created through the womb with the same tread that placed it on her. Aesthetically, the pearls were beautiful.


Sexy Break Out

by Lady Blue Phoenix, Burlesque Performer. UK

Lady Blue Phoenix is a Burlesque Performer who celebrates her curvy, plus size body through dance and performance. Using Burlesque as a tool to embrace her own self expression, Lady Blue Phoenix brings Sass and seduction to life. Sexy Break Out is a home video that combines fun and playfulness with stripping and sexuality.

Makeda: A Raw powerful performance as a woman comfortable in her sexuality who is fearless. It brings up for me, parts of us that we don't necessarily see I felt like I was a fly on a wall invited to a sacred space.

I loved the seduction that goes against the common norms and codes adopted by mainstream art videos in general - Maiada Aboud

Aboud: I loved the seduction that goes against the common norms and codes adopted by mainstream art videos in general. Nevertheless, this work has a less artistic message in my eyes, even though I loved the natural environment of her own living room


Let Your Hair Down

by Godgift Emesi, Videographer, UK

Hair is a lot more than just locks. In order to explore the extent of multiculturalism within Melbourne and cities worldwide, this short film focuses on four people living in Melbourne and their personal experiences of navigating micro-aggressions to do with their hair.

Godgift Emesi is a freelance videographer based in North London. Born in Nigeria, Godgift immigrated with her family to the UK at the age of 5 and has been living, studying and following her dreams of digital video content creation there ever since.

Makeda: This was a beautiful perspective that I've not really be part of, hearing women from other cultures speak about their hair. For some of them, it was defining and for others, there was not a major attachment. Feminine expressions, featurism, sexuality & hair.

Aboud: I like the multiculturalism representation, however I don't see this video adding much to conversations about racism, consciousness, curly hair, ignorance, putting people in a box, labels, and personal identity. Maybe if these women spoke about hair and then it was revealed to us ( viewers ) at the end it would have added an interesting element to look at.


Patterns of Self

by Pattern Nation, Clothing Brand/Creative platform,Canada/South Africa

Patterns of Self is a Vancouver Canada based editorial shoot and short film illuminating both the sides of oneself; dark and light, black and white, masculine and feminine. The dichotomy of black and white was used in Patterns of Self through PatternNation's hand painted canvas garments and non-binary model Helen Marley’s expressive portrayal of both the fem and masc sides of their being.

This editorial looks at the knowledge of self, love of self and understanding of self, these ideas are directly referenced in the image of Helen’s kiss with themselves. Creative direction Dosh Osholowu of Toronto member of Jungle3ribe brings his unique black and white esthetic into the mix and photographer Vaspaan Shroff from Mumbai specializes in surrealism, post-production, and animation. Makeup artist and Model team Lennox Campbell and Helen Marley often collaborate as they both play with concepts around gender and identity politics in their work, their ideas around the perception of self directly informed Patterns of Self. All of these elements are brought together byPatternNation’s mural, painted canvas garments and black and white jewelry to create a truly surrealist effect.

Makeda: 'Patterns of self' is my favourite of these films. From the first chord, I thought wow! I like how it combined Music, astrology, sacred geometry & duality. The feminine was represented in the patterns on their dress, the Yoni which is a major part of femininity to me, as it is the portal of life.

It was the masculine and feminine energies coming to full alignment and in balance with each other. Though they are sitting alone, they need each other to create.

- Teshay Makeda

The artist's approach was beautiful, I loved the colours and the shapes of the garments which represented each energy, also the stop motion style of editing which added an otherworldly dynamic. Once Venus & Mars combined there was a life which was done so well as it can be interpreted in so many ways. For me it was the masculine and feminine energies coming to full alignment and balance with each other though they are string alone they need each other to create.

Aboud: I loved the masculinity vs femininity, black vs white, the movements, positivity and self-empowerment.


COLOURWORXX x Pattern Nation

Editorial/art installation, UK/Canada,

This film was created as part of an art installation and photo shoot brought together by Cydney Eva, founder of PatternNation and Cath Carver, founder of Colour Your City and Editor-in-Chief of COLOURWORXX, in collaboration with local fashion designers Fuud and West Carolina.

The art, fashion and dance collaboration brought together an amazing community of creatives, designers, models and performers. Exploring themes of movement, body positivity and spatial transformation through the design of the space, play with the blobs, bright neon colours and bold fashion. Embracing our body fully as a vessel for joy and creativity. Celebrating the fullness of potentiality, activated imagination, spatial fantasy, empowered self-expression, and infinite play with colour and form.

Makeda: The vibrancy in movement and colour palette mixed with the fluidity; there were many representations of the feminine in this piece, especially through the fashions. The message that I got from this is to be you is all your boldness.

The Sassy Show: We loved seeing this piece come together celebrating dynamic designers who are forever bringing bold colours and exciting experimentations of patterns together. We feel like this is a lovely teaser for many more pieces of work to come from the COLOURWORXX team.


You can check out Maiada Aboud's work on her website

and keep up to date on Teshay Makeda's soulful sounds via her IG account

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