Event Preview – Censor Me, I Dare You
Next month, artist Holly Inks is set to host an inspiring new exhibition, ‘Censor Me, I Dare You’, which is designed to fight back against the ongoing censorship of the female nipple. With over 200 artists involved and a significant buzz on social media, Britain Uncovered takes a sneak peek at how it all came together and details exactly what the project involves.
Despite the Free the Nipple campaign having been in existence for over a decade (the term was first coined in New York City back in 2012), social media platforms are still persisting with their draconian and seemingly sexist attitudes as it relates to censorship of the female nipple – and despite male toplessness remaining commonplace, it’s still considered sexual or indecent for women to bare their nipples in public and online.
When Holly Inks, an artist who describes her work as “Art not suitable for Grandma”, found herself having to censor nipples featured in her work when uploading content from her recent Nudes & Rudes series, she seemingly stumbled upon a creative solution that would ultimately spark the idea for her very next project – Censor Me, I Dare You.
Holly explains, “In late 2021, during my Nudes & Rudes series, I realised that drippy hearts over the nips avoided getting flagged by social platforms. By Christmas, I had the idea of having a collective of artists ‘censor’ my tits in their own style, making a statement about censorship and sticking two fingers at a society that frowns hypocritically at the female form.”
Speaking on how the idea gained traction, Holly notes, “We gained 100 artists over the festive period, and then with a viral video, we gained a further 100 artists within 24 hours. Within four weeks, the maximum artist slots available were full, which is not a bad achievement for my tiny tits.”
The 200 artists signed up to participate have produced a fascinating and varied series of artwork that is all based on the same topless image of Holly, and they each worked on a 30 x 30cm print that was sent either digitally or by post. Artists were encouraged to censor it however they liked, in their own style (with no rules or restrictions), and it’s been fascinating to see just how diverse the results are and how the artists have interpreted the brief; all with the same aim of helping to promote and highlight this important and ongoing censorship issue.
To mark the completion of the project, a physical pop-up exhibition showcasing each of the 200 pieces will take place in London on Friday 4th March. The event, which will be held at 10 Quaker Street in Shoreditch, will be open from 12pm to 8pm and entry for visitors is free of charge. Additionally, an online gallery of the works, along with a fundraising auction, will go live in the week leading up to the event, commencing on Friday 25th February. Each artist involved will also be donating a percentage of their sales to a charity of their choice.
Submissions for this inaugural event are now closed, but stay tuned to Holly Ink’s Instagram channel to be alerted when submissions open for Censor Me, Again, a follow-up project which is scheduled to take place at the end of the year.
Meet The Artist: Dolly Daydream Art
Britain Uncovered was pleased to discover that among the 200 artists taking part in the project is Sophie Gregory – aka Dolly Daydream Art – who we had the pleasure of speaking with about her work here on the site back in May 2021 (you can click here to access the full interview if you missed it first time around).
Upon discovering that Sophie had signed up for Holly’s exhibition, we got in touch with the artist to find out what compelled her to participate in the event, and she revealed to us: “When I saw a few artists I follow taking part in the Censor Me, I Dare You exhibition that Holly has organised, I immediately messaged to see if I could be involved.”
There were two significant motivations for this, as Sophie explains: “Firstly, it will be my first ever exhibition, and to feature alongside 199 other artists is so incredible and exciting! Secondly, for me, the censorship that happens against women's nipples vs. men's is one example of the society we still live in today. Women need to stop being sexualised (unless they want to be) and it’s another example of the sexism that STILL takes place, even in 2022.”
When quizzed on the potential solution to the censorship of men's and women's nipples, Sophie notes, “Both or neither, it’s as simple as that for me. The female body is beautiful and something that shouldn’t be made shameful and made to be embarrassing; especially when men can walk around topless in the street with no issues. It’s a small thing that I needed to be a part of, and I can’t wait to see the exhibition in Shoreditch on Friday 4th March.”
As mentioned, Sophie will be in attendance at the pop-up exhibition on the day alongside her artwork, which is titled Build A Rainbow and Get Over It. Her chosen charity, which will receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the piece, is Endometriosis UK. You can see more from this incredibly talented artist over at her Instagram channel, @dollydaydream_art.
Meet The Artist: Katie Hughes
Another participant involved in the event is body positivity artist, Katie Hughes, who has been creating art that normalises and desexualises the female body ever since the first lockdown began back in 2020.
Speaking about her involvement, Katie tells us, "I wanted to be involved in this art movement as I've not seen a concept like this before. I was impressed with Holly’s bravery and creativity, and the aim behind this movement is in-line with what I am trying to achieve with my art; hence why this movement means a lot to me. I just had to get involved.
"I decided to stay true to myself when creating my piece. I wanted to use my abstract style to censor the piece, but without taking away from the body too much. I hope my piece is sold in the auction in order to raise money for my chosen charity, Look Good Feel Better UK, which is really important to me."
You can read our full interview with Katie, whom we had the pleasure of speaking with back in August 2021, by clicking here.
Meet The Artist: Ellie Coombs
Also amongst the 200 artists involved is Ellie Coombs, a talented Kent-based artist who focuses on abstract line art that celebrates women’s bodies.
Speaking on her decision to take part, Ellie explains to us, “I wanted to get involved in this project because my art centres around not only body positivity, but also desexualising the female body – and I thought this was a great opportunity to explore this in an entirely different way!
“The issue of nipple censorship is just one part of a large problem regarding the sexualisation of the female form, so I wanted to create a piece that reflected my own style of art and the message that our bodies are beautiful – and not something to be used by others. I therefore tried to create an image of the body being seen as art whilst also censoring it.”
We’re very much looking forward to seeing Ellie’s piece as part of the exhibition on the day, and in the meantime you can see more of Ellie’s work by following the artist on Instagram at @ellies_line_designs or by visiting her Etsy shop.
Finally, Britain Uncovered will also be present at the exhibition in Shoreditch, and we wish Holly, Sophie, Katie, Ellie and each of the other artists involved - including Antonia Jolley, who we interviewed on the site last year - the very best of luck with their final preparations. We can’t wait to see each of the 200 pieces live in person on the day!
Holly Inks is a UK-based artist who describes herself as sweary, sarcastic, petty, rude and crude – and as mentioned before, her art is not suitable for Grandma! To find out more about Censor Me, I Dare You and to see Holly’s extensive range of work (which includes a fantastic series of rude pottery), head on over to her website at www.hollyinks.com and follow the artist on Instagram at @holly.inks.